Language training and settlement success: Are they related?

Research Report

Prepared by Lynda Yates with Laura Ficorilli Sun Hee Ok Kim Loy Lising Pam McPherson Kerry Taylor-Leech Charlotte Setijadi-Dunn Agnes Terraschke Alan Williams

Published and distributed by the AMEP Research Centre Macquarie University Sydney NSW 2109

ISBN: 9781741383447 Acknowledgment This publication was prepared by the AMEP Research Centre, which is funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. The AMEP Research Centre is a consortium that consists of Macquarie University and La Trobe University. © Commonwealth of Australia 2010 This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Commonwealth Copyright Administration, Attorney General’s Department, Robert Garran Offices, National Circuit, Barton, ACT 2600 or posted at Disclaimer The views expressed in this publication are those of the AMEP Research Centre, and do not necessarily represent those of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. While all reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Department of Immigration and Citizenship nor the AMEP Research Centre shall be responsible or liable (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. Writers Associate Professor Lynda Yates with Research team Laura Ficorilli Sun Hee Ok Kim Loy Lising Pam McPherson Kerry Taylor-Leech Charlotte Setijadi-Dunn Agnes Terraschke Alan Williams Project team Cover design Text layout Project manager Production assistant Printing Natalie Barlow Natalie Barlow Louisa O’Kelly Sally Gourlay BusyStreet


Abbreviations Chapter 1 Introduction
1.1 1.2 1.3 Aims, rationale and report outline Study design, data collection and data analysis Participants 1 3 3 6

Chapter 2 Goals and pathways
2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Participant goals: overall patterns Goals and plans across CSWE levels Pursuing goals Employment outcomes during the study Education post-AMEP – outcomes Summary and implications

9 11 11 15 17 20 23

Chapter 3 Use of English for everyday life
3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Use of English in everyday life Variation among individuals Use of English socially Use of English in the family Use of English at work Summary and implications

25 27 30 31 32 34 37

Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP
4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Perceptions of progress and the AMEP Assessment in the AMEP What participants found useful Developing literacy Criticisms and suggestions for improvement Summary and implications

39 41 42 46 53 56 59


Chapter 5 Language learning.2 5.4 Approaches to learning English Social isolation and opportunities to practise speaking English Use of speaking strategies Summary and implications 61 63 66 73 76 Chapter 6 Conclusion and Recommendations Appendix 1: Centre descriptions Appendix 2: Participants’ reported first languages Appendix 3: Coding categories used in basic NVivo analysis References 77 83 89 93 99 iv . speaking skills and the role of the AMEP 5.1 5.3 5.

5: Year of arrival in Australia Table 1.2: Listening and speaking: talk about language-learning strategy use v .1: Current participant employment by ASCO major group classification Table 2.4: Text types in the AMEP curriculum Table 5.2: Participant employment types Table 2.Tables Table 1.1: Educational setting of prior English-language learning Figure 5. age and years of schooling of participants Table 1.2: Data collected over the period of the project Table 1.4: Most common language backgrounds Table 1.1: Examples of strategies used by learners at different CSWE levels Figures Figure 5.6: Participants’ marital status Table 2.1: Participating centres and total number of participants Table 1.4: Post-AMEP education by CSWE level Table 3.2: Themes and topics participants found to be most useful in the AMEP Table 4.1: Comparison of learning outcomes in the 2003 and 2008 curriculum Table 4. gender.3: CSWE level.1: Contexts in which participants reported using English Table 4.3: Forms of literacy encountered by project participants Table 4.3: Participants who found employment related to their pre-migration occupations Table 2.

Loy Lising. for the two years of its existence and supervised by Ingrid Piller in 2008 and Lynda Yates in 2009. Charlotte Setijadi-Dunn and Alan Williams Pamela McPherson. Vera Tetteh. VIC AMES. TAFE English Language and Literacy Services. Anthony Harding. Sun Hee Ok Kim. Sun Hee Ok Kim. AMES Hobart. sincere thanks are due to the participants in this study who allowed us into their lives and their thoughts over an extended period. Loy Lising. Various researchers provided drafts and analyses for particular parts of the report as follows: • • • • Chapter 2 draws. Jo Taylor. Elsie Cole. Emily Farrell. Central TAFE. Philip Nichols. Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE. funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Canberra. Homeira Hosseini. Southbank TAFE. Jennifer Tindale. Sally Gourlay.Acknowledgments The research recorded in this volume is based on the research project ‘Language training and settlement success: Are they related?’. English Language Services. The teacher researchers were Donna Butorac. AMEP RC. Our special thanks go to the AMEP teachers and managers who made us welcome in their centres and allowed us into their classes and coffee bars. Hongyan Yang. This report is dedicated to them. Australian Centre for Languages. The project was managed by Loy Lising. and Lianna Taranto. Maria Rudloff. Margaret Gunn. Charlotte Setijadi-Dunn. Khristos Nizamis. Anthony Rotter. The research team comprised academic researchers from the AMEP RC and teacher researchers from ten AMEP service providers. Pam McPherson. Research assistance was provided by John Ehrich. AMEP RC. Most of all. which was conducted as part of the Special Project Research Program 2008–09 at the Adult Migrant English Program Research Centre (AMEP RC). The academic researchers were Laura Ficorilli. AMES WA. Kerry Taylor-Leech and Alan Williams worked on the analyses for Chapter 5. TAFESA. Alan Williams and Lynda Yates of La Trobe University. Jacky Springall. Ingrid Piller. Kerry Taylor-Leech and Agnes Terraschke of Macquarie University. Jenny Zhang Jie and Beth Zielinksi. Thanks are also due to the research assistants who worked on the project at various points and helped with transcription and data coding. in particular. Helen Little. and Charlotte Setijadi-Dunn. The database that hosts the raw data for this project was designed by Tomislav Kimovski. and most of the transcription was done by Coralie Faulkner and her team. The ‘Language training and settlement success’ project was conceived by the AMEP RC Director. on work by Laura Ficorilli. Sun Hee Ok Kim. NSW AMES. The report itself is very much a team effort and was produced under the leadership of Lynda Yates. Vicki Hambling. Macquarie Community College. vi . Mahesh Radhakrishnan. Charlotte Setijadi-Dunn and Alan Williams Chapter 3 is based on work by Loy Lising and Agnes Terraschke Chapter 4 draws on work by Laura Ficorilli. Brie WilloughbyKnox. University of New South Wales Institute of Languages. and DIAC in response to suggestions from AMEP service providers.

Abbreviations AMEP AMEP RC AMES ASCO C01 – C12 CSWE CV DIAC ESL IELTS Int L1 LLNP LO Q1 – Q4 TAFE Adult Migrant English Program Adult Migrant English Program Research Centre Adult Migrant English Service Australian Standard Classification of Occupations Centre 01 – Centre 12 Certificate in Spoken and Written English curriculum vitae Department of Immigration and Citizenship English as a Second Language International English Language Testing System Interpreter first language Language. Literacy and Numeracy Program Learning Outcome Quarter 1 – Quarter 4 Technical and Further Education vii .

viii .

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 1 Introduction 1 .

2 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

Ethnography is a problem-based qualitative research approach in which data that illuminate a research problem are systematically collected in context in order to address the research questions.2 Study design.1 Aims. Unlike first-language learners. Chapter 2 considers the participants’ goals and the pathways they took towards these. Research indicates that investments in language learning are more useful immediately on arrival rather than later. it is crucial that migrants have proficiency in English if they are to fully capitalise on the other skills they bring to Australia (Chiswick & Miller 2001). Among these. second-language learners differ widely in their language acquisition. previous education. worked and interacted in the community. The AMEP Research Centre had unique access to migrants studying in the AMEP through collaboration with providers. Chapter 6 draws together the major findings and considers their implications for the AMEP. The results of the analysis are presented in the following chapters. and one each in Tasmania. Chapter 1 Introduction 3 . two each in Victoria and Western Australia. rationale and report outline The aim of this study is to explore the interactions that newly arrived migrants to Australia have in English in the community and in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) in order to better understand their language needs in early settlement. A key assumption of this approach is that social phenomena such as language learning need to be explored in context and that the researcher needs to become a participant observer in order to understand that context. As shown in Table 1. The result of this process is rich data about the participants and their context. which can be explored to illuminate a range of phenomena. This report addresses three key questions. Chapter 4 discusses the participants’ experiences in the AMEP and the relationship between these and their English-language needs. The aim therefore is to provide a description of a particular group rather than to test hypotheses (Richards 2003). South Australia and Queensland) (see Appendix 1 for a description of each centre).Chapter 1 Introduction 1. 1. while in Chapter 3 the situations in which they engaged with English in the different areas of their lives are explored. Learner characteristics. It is therefore crucial to have a nuanced understanding of how migrants engage with English in the community and how their experiences in the AMEP contribute to this engagement. This study was designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the communication and interaction patterns of new arrivals in order to optimise language instruction during this critical early phase of settlement.1. data collection and data analysis This study was designed as a longitudinal multi-site. so that the earliest years are the most crucial for language gain (Fennelly and Palasz 2003). We therefore sought participants while they were studying in the AMEP and followed them for one year as they studied. In this chapter the research approach and the methodology used in this study are outlined before an overview of the data collected and the study participants is given. the quality and the quantity of the interactions in the target language are crucial. and age and contextual factors. participant ethnography so that issues related to language learning and use could be explored qualitatively in context. can influence the rate of progress and outcome. including previous exposure to the language. 1 What kinds of interactions in English (spoken. eleven AMEP centres in six states agreed to participate (four in New South Wales. written and computer mediated) do contemporary AMEP clients engage in inside and outside the classroom during their time in the AMEP and afterwards? How are the two related and how can their fit be improved? How are interactions in English different for different learner groups and how can language training be customised to meet the language needs of different client groups? 2 3 Regardless of their age or level of education. Chapter 5 explores some of the issues participants faced in developing speaking and literacy skills.

they were also conducted in participants’ homes. of participants starting 12 17 16 12 20 16 15 11 13 10 10 152 Each centre provided a teacher-researcher to collaborate with an academic researcher affiliated with the AMEP Research Centre to organise and conduct data collection. Researchers made every effort to ensure that the participants felt as comfortable with them as possible in order to build up rapport. or left for a period and then returned (if they were travelling overseas. photographs and materials such as brochures given to students during orientation and sent out to prospective clients. some participants left the study for various reasons. C01 C02 C03 C05* C06 C07 C08 C09 C10 C11 C12 Total * Centre 04 was dropped from the study before the start of data collection for logistical reasons. State NSW NSW NSW NSW QLD SA VIC VIC TAS WA WA Participating AMEP centre Parramatta Blacktown Bankstown Randwick Southbank Adelaide Melbourne Flagstaff Hobart Perth Perth CSWE level class CSWE II CSWE III CSWE I CSWE III CSWE III Pre-CSWE. • Centre observations and materials These gave insight into the character of the centre and consisted of field notes. and so this was not possible in all cases. but as they moved out into the community. They noted details of the lessons and how learners participated. • AMEP classroom observations The academic or teacher–researcher observed classes that included participants. including interviews. centre data and observation. many were conducted at the AMEP centres where the participants studied. Initially. While the aim was to record four interviews over the year. Parallel sets of data were collected in each of the centres over an 11-12 month period between May 2008 and June 2009. and collected the relevant teaching materials. Interpreters were used with participants whose spoken skills were insufficient to understand or respond in English. They were built up over time from a number of sources. • Participant profiles These included a demographic profile and gave an overall picture of each participant.Table 1. the following data were collected. 4 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . coffee shops or other locations. CSWE I CSWE I CSWE III CSWE III Pre-CSWE CSWE II No. In some cases activities were recorded. • Sets of teaching materials used with the class These included teaching plans and materials that had been covered in preparation for assessment. • Quarterly interviews These were conducted at a time and place convenient to the participant. for example).1: Participating centres and total number of participants Centre no. Across all sites. and in many cases additional social appointments such as informal barbecues and telephone calls were arranged. The exact timing of this period and of visits to the centres by academic researchers varied according to circumstances in individual centres.

The data were analysed by the team of academic researchers using Microsoft Office applications and NVivo1 software. For example. and in others the participants themselves made the recordings and secured the relevant permissions. and in others the participants recorded themselves and secured the relevant permissions from their interlocutors.2.2: Data collected over the period of the project Data type Centre observations and materials Participant profiles Quarterly interviews – Initial participant interviews Quarterly interviews – 2nd interviews Quarterly interviews – 3rd interviews Quarterly interviews – 4th interviews AMEP classroom observations Sets of teaching materials used with the class Participant assessment samples Recordings/observations of participant interaction in English outside class but within AMEP centre Recordings of participants in interaction in English with friends/family outside the classroom Recordings/observations of participants in transactional interactions in non-AMEP setting Number 51 152 148 117 107 108 97 134 400 70 125 191 The data were uploaded to a website database specially developed to accommodate the large amount collected and to allow access across Australia. In some cases they were recorded by researchers when participants were with family and friends. • Recordings of participants in interaction in English with friends/family outside the classroom In some cases recordings were made by researchers when participants were with family and friends. The data collected in this way over the 2008-09 data collection period are summarised in Table 1. A more detailed analysis was conducted on these categories in order to establish patterns across participants from different backgrounds. • Recordings and/or observations (where recording was not feasible) of participants in transactional interactions in non-AMEP setting These included interactions in the community. The data were coded in NVivo for major categories relevant to the research questions (see Appendix 3). • Recordings and/or observations (where recording was not feasible) of participant interaction in English outside class but within AMEP centre These included informal talk among participants and other clients during the break time and provided samples of informal talk in a familiar setting. In some cases they were recorded by one of the researchers. reading and writing and the participants’ performance on these. the characteristics of the study participants are described. In the next section.• Participant assessment samples These were samples of assessment tasks in speaking. Table 1. The results of these analyses are presented in the following chapters. including recordings. and in others the participants themselves did the recording and secured the relevant permissions. interview data on where participants said they used English were related to factors such as age and first language in order to see if different patterns emerged. Chapter 1 Introduction 5 . Recordings were transcribed and proofread by the researchers before the final versions were uploaded. Printed materials and pictures were uploaded directly or scanned and converted into PDF files. at work and in further study. listening. and the kinds of engagement in English in the community were analysed and related to data collected on participants’ engagement in the AMEP.

source region and visa category. As a result. 4–7 years. Once the classes had been identified. 13+ years source region: Africa. This relationship enabled researchers to maintain a close connection with participants. 25–34 years and 35+ (refined into three sub-groups of 35–44 years. in order to address issues related to the potential impact of gender. 6 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . the project enjoyed an exceptionally high participant retention rate throughout the data collection period. more higher level learners were included in the study. 55+ years) CSWE level: pre-CSWE. A limitation of this arrangement. One advantage of this was that clients at this level often proved to be reflective contributors to the study. The advantage of this arrangement was that the research team could capitalise on the trust that had been built up between the participants and their teacher. economic.1. Asia. In this way. and education level of the 152 participants who agreed to take part in the study in 2008. the project was explained to learners. a class that was being taught by the teacher–researchers provided by centres. CSWE II and CSWE III educational level: <3 years. gender. Those who volunteered to participate were given a small token of appreciation ($50 or a $50 donation to a charity of their choice) six months into the data collection and at the end of data collection. and to maintain contact even if participants returned overseas for fairly lengthy periods. Certificate in Spoken and Written English (CSWE) level. but not always. the following initial classes were identified: • • • • • 1 x pre-CSWE 1 x pre-CSWE/CSWE I 2 x CSWE I 2 x CSWE II 5 x CSWE III. however. Once a centre had expressed an interest in collaborating in the study and identified a suitable teacher– researcher to work with us. CSWE I.3 shows the proficiency (CSWE) level. It also provided access to classes and insight into daily classroom routines. CSWE II (22) or pre-CSWE (12).3 Participants The study design was ethnographic and so the sample of participants was not intended to be strictly representative. educational background. The classes selected therefore included all the major levels of CSWE and both full-time and part-time modes of delivery. However. which is especially important in research with migrants who can feel quite vulnerable and unsure in the early stages of settlement. and volunteers were sought. Middle East visa category: humanitarian. but there were larger numbers of participants at CSWE III level (73) than CSWE I (45). 8–12 years. Table 1. This was because staff members with sufficient experience to undertake the role of teacher–researcher were often assigned the higher-level classes. age. age. at least in the first term. 45–54 years. was that researchers could only select the level and type of class from those being taught by the teacher–researcher in the term in which data collection started. through translation where necessary. the centre suggested a class that would be convenient for researchers to follow. This helped to establish a relaxed and comfortable rapport with participants. and this was usually. and since in most cases participants were drawn from their classes. family reunion. Participants were volunteers selected on the basis of the AMEP class that they were attending at the start of the project. we needed to ensure that participants included migrants from the following groups: • • • • • • gender: both females and males age groups: 16–24 years.

it was not always straightforward to determine language background precisely. The participants generally had relatively high levels of education. the reported number of years of schooling for participants in each CSWE level does not show a large variation. Korean and Thai. 45–54 years and 55+ years. 112 of the initial participants were female and 40 were male. in general. In the analyses.Table 1. In our study. The largest single country of origin was the People’s Republic of China. as many participants spoke several languages. the 35+ age group was refined into three sub-groups: 35–44 years. Table 1. This represents a slight exaggeration of the gender imbalance found nationally in the AMEP in 2008–09. followed by Arabic. compared with 77. 17 females to 5 males at CSWE II and 32 females to 13 males at CSWE I. Between them. age and years of schooling of participants CSWE level (n = sample size) Pre-CSWE (n = 12) CSWE I (n = 45) CSWE II (n = 22) CSWE III (n = 73) Total Gender M 6 13 5 16 40 F 6 32 17 57 112 Age 16–24 1 9 3 11 24 25–34 6 15 10 33 64 35–44 2 9 6 23 40 45–54 1 8 2 6 17 55+ 2 4 1 0 7 Years of schooling <3 2 1 0 0 3 4–7 3 2 3 1 9 8–12 6 25 7 12 50 13+ 1 17 12 60 90 As shown in Table 1. 24 participants were in the 16–24 age bracket. This relates to two factors: (a) that more classes at higher levels of English were included in the study and (b) that migrants with higher levels of education may feel more confident participating in a study of this kind and making a long-term commitment to research. This is consistent with the findings of previous research (Kim 2009). Mandarin was the most common language background for the participants. as discovered during the interviews. A list of these is given in Appendix 2 (languages are arranged according to largest number of speakers). As shown in this table. females outnumbered males at most levels: 57 females to 16 males at CSWE III. As shown in Table 1. While.3. Vietnamese. followed by Vietnam.4 compares the most common language backgrounds among study participants with those of AMEP clients in 2006. However. gender.3: CSWE level. in which 68% of clients were female (DIAC 2009: 205). The number of years of schooling reported by the participants is lowest for pre-CSWE and highest for CSWE III. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 73 years.3.6% of our sample was female. the 152 participants had 53 different first languages. 64 were in the 25–34 age group and 64 were from the 35+ age group. and these participants were at pre-CSWE and CSWE I level. There were equal numbers at pre-CSWE level. The standard deviation for age indicates that there is quite a spread from the mean age. Chapter 1 Introduction 7 . This meant that 84% of participants were under the age of 44. which they used for different purposes. the profile of language backgrounds in the sample is very similar to the profile currently found in the AMEP population. Thus 73.4% found among AMEP clients nationally (DIAC 2009: 205). participants from CSWE III had the most schooling (13+ years). Only three participants (one from Burma and two from Africa) had less than three years of schooling.

0 1. The three main causes for the attrition were: • • • participants finished their AMEP hours and opted out of the project participants found work and withdrew from the project participants travelled overseas for extended periods.0 4.9 2.0 Table 1.6 show the year in which they arrived in Australia and their marital status.1 5. for clients in the AMEP.6: Participants’ marital status Single Female Male 6 16 Married 98 22 De facto 3 0 Divorced 1 2 Widowed 3 0 Uncertain 1 0 Total 112 40 As noted above.2 3.3 6.0 11.5: Year of arrival in Australia Year of arrival 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 Before 2004 Total No.8 7.3 5.6 3.5 and 1.9 4. classification and storage of qualitative data.6 100. From these.5 4.6 3. of participants 63 50 22 6 7 4 152 % 41.7 4.1 11. Tables 1.7 Typically.4 20.4 32. 18% had humanitarian visas and 14% were in the skilled migration stream.Table 1. Table 1.4 Project participants% 19.9 0. only 27 withdrew before the end of the study. there was much less attrition than might be expected in a longitudinal study with this kind of mobile population: of the 152 participants who started. The following chapters address the research questions through an analysis of how participants engaged with English inside and outside the AMEP during the one-year period of their early settlement in Australia.5 3.4 5. the majority (67%) had entered Australia in the family migration stream.3 0. Notes 1 Research software that assists in the coding.4: Most common language backgrounds First language Mandarin Arabic Vietnamese Cantonese Dinka Korean Dari Thai Spanish Russian * Figures are from DIAC 2008 AMEP 2006* % 22.6 2. it can be seen that most were very recent arrivals (in 2008 or 2007) and were married. 8 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .9 14.

Chapter 2 Goals and pathways Chapter 1 Introduction 9 .

10 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

there was widespread interest in courses in childcare. Among women across all CSWE levels. and he expressed a desire to do a translation course. Khoo and McDonald 2001) and involved language learning. felt pressured to earn income and meet childcare needs. and this may have been a reflection of their high level of education and professional background. while older participants. Those with well-defined professional ambitions were clearer about the pathways to working in their chosen professions in Australia. although there was not always great clarity on exactly what was required or how to focus on improving their English. English-language competence was identified as a barrier to appropriate employment and this realisation was intensified at lower CSWE levels. However.2. the data were analysed for what the participants said about their goals and plans for the future and the steps they had taken towards those goals during the data collection period. aged care or the beauty therapy industry. William. he learned English and had learned other languages in refugee camps before coming to Australia in April 2008. In some cases. Those who had a clear idea of what they wanted to do were able to plan their pathways and take concrete steps towards their goals. Others had goals that were less concrete or were unrealistic. which he could use for the benefit of the community. 2. Setting up a small business was appealing to many participants. few of them had commenced study in these areas. for example.Chapter 2 Goals and pathways In order to address research questions related to participants’ actual and intended engagement with English. by the end of data collection. Some wished to continue their pre-migration occupations. Some participants clearly articulated specific goals that seemed achievable and for which they had identified clear pathways. there were some differences in the degree of clarity with which they were understood and articulated. Those who did not have clear and attainable employment goals had to refocus on appropriate goals and pathways.1 CSWE III More participants at CSWE III seemed able to plan concretely for their future employment and employment pathways than those at lower levels.1 Participant goals: overall patterns Most of the goals expressed by participants related to typical indicators of settlement success (see. In Quarter 1 (Q1) he realised that he had a talent for languages. At lower levels there was greater uncertainty and volatility of goals and plans. which he completed in Quarter 4 (Q4). but few had a clear idea of how to do this or a plan to pursue. • • • • • • • • The next section examines differences evident among participants at different CSWE levels. as in the case of William. further education/training and employment. In his mid-thirties at the start of the project. William started a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Certificate II-level course in Interpreting and Translating in Quarter 3 (Q3). Many were also interested in enrolling in translating courses. while others did not. Younger learners were more likely to aspire to professional careers and take time to study. He was also Chapter 2 Goals and Pathways 11 . in particular those with young children. Some overall trends were evident. a refugee from Sudan. both in focus and in awareness of educational pathways. 2. C05. and did not seem to have clear pathways in mind. At the end of the project he was working as a part-time/casual interpreter and translator. Participants at CSWE III level were generally better able to articulate their goals and identify pathways to reach them. awareness of this reality developed over time.2 Goals and plans across CSWE levels 2. • There were differences between CSWE levels. CSWE III William had been one of the lost boys from Sudan. These were mostly at CSWE III level. While such goals were expressed by all participants.

C02. as the boss discouraged talk at work. and this was the intention of 20 of the 73 CSWE III participants. Upon arrival she found a job via the internet as a quality control officer at a glasses factory. even at CSWE III. CSWE III In the Philippines Lourdes had 14 years of education. Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP)) that they planned to take. so she was focusing on achieving that level at the end of the project. She was studying English part-time to achieve this goal by Q3. especially as time progressed. They also more often had a keener understanding of the level of language required of the specific job they had in mind. CSWE III Before migrating to Australia. Tomoko. an idea of the types of institutions they would enrol in. participants at CSWE III were more likely to be planning to work in their pre-migration occupations. C09. From the start of the study. CSWE III Tomoko. Anna. After completing her 510 hours in the AMEP.continuing his English studies through distance education. 33 appeared to have a concrete sense of the language skills that they needed to improve for specific purposes. she would not need to do a bridging course. Language. as well as self-study towards a higher National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters accreditation rating. their plans were on hold because they were expecting changes in their personal circumstances or were uncertain about their English-language levels. Of 73 participants at CSWE III. All spoke of their ultimate goals in terms of gaining employment. and tended to start with much more specific plans for further education. Where participants’ pre-migration occupations were clearly defined professions or roles. arrived in Australia from Japan in March 2008. A high achiever used to succeeding. like Anna. CSWE III. She found a job in aged care soon after the Q1 interview. many participants were still uncertain as to the level and type of language skills that would be required to join the workforce. showing a detailed knowledge about their chosen pathways. In Quarter 2 (Q2) she found out that she needed an IELTS score of 7 and would need to do a bridging course in order to work as a nurse or midwife in Australia. Her profession there was a midwife. She understood that her English needed to improve dramatically before she would be able to work in her field and began rigorous studies. By Q4 she had found out that if she could get her IELTS score to 7 within two years of having practised midwifery in Japan. and completed this in June 2009. Anna spoke of clearly defined professional goals. CSWE III Danielle was in her mid-thirties when she arrived from the Philippines in January 2008. she was frustrated at how long it took to improve her language despite her strenuous efforts. Some. Lourdes. CSWE III participants often seemed to have greater knowledge of the Australian context before migration. C10. Twenty-one of these were able to name an advanced English course (eg English for Foreign Students. but she found the job was frustrating because it was below her skill level and did not allow much opportunity to communicate in English. not only for the specific jobs they had in mind. However. Danielle. and ten were aware of the need to concentrate on particular skills in which they were weak or which were needed for their future plans. She wanted to pursue nursing studies and she seemed quite aware of the kind of language requirements for the job in relation to her own needs. C02. Lourdes. and she studied English as a foreign language. as in the cases of Tomoko and Lourdes. which she reassessed and redefined throughout the project. C06. where she had been a midwife for 11 years. Some of those planning continuing education were well informed and articulate. Q2 ‘What I need … is more on writing … more grammar … because when you study in in like we we I study enrolled nurse … you’re doing a lot of writing … like doing reports …’ However. 31. 30 participants at this level were less concrete about their language-learning goals and spoke in vague terms about how to achieve them. but also for entrance into the labour market and the Australian work system more generally. and some kind of timeframe and action plan. In Q1 she was still completing the requirements to get her qualifications recognised in Australia. Anna decided that her goal of being an 12 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . her primary concern was getting her qualifications recognised in Australia. became increasingly aware of the enormity of the task of reaching the level of proficiency required for their previous professions and opted for retraining. She had found out that she also needed to attain an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7 in order to be eligible. she applied for an ‘English for further studies’ course at TAFE. Anna had been an ophthalmologist in China for 16 years. Halfway through the study. which she saw as a step towards her goal. Initially. Of all the levels. For 26 of them. The language of instruction was Tagalog. the pathway to reach their goal was clearer to them. which included primary and secondary schooling. dedicating five hours a day to online English practice.

new regulations in Australia meant that it had not been possible for him to be a builder on arrival. but doubted he would be able to work in a similar profession in Australia because of his English-language level. only 11 of these participants had already found a satisfactory arrangement or were confident of their planned courses of action. maintenance and manual labour. to reassess their employment goals. C09. Austria. Peter has enrolled in some classes with the Master Builders Association to qualify as a building inspector. instead.2 CSWE II Almost all participants at CSWE II level (18 out of 22) reported that their English proficiency was not sufficient to attain employment. While ten participants planned to set up small businesses. even though proportionally more participants at CSWE III level were able to articulate clear goals and pathways. suggesting an important role for educational counselling. For some. They had hoped to pursue her husband’s lifelong dream of owning and operating a livestock farm. the Emirates and in his home country. language skills. who left the project soon after he joined to work in another city. his primary aim in finding employment was not financial. and showed less knowledge of the labour market in their specific fields and the Australian system in general. which he regarded as a bad job with good pay. nor in automatic employment. As his wife was earning sufficient income to support them both. However. Although he judged his oral communication skills to be adequate. cleaning. Her husband opened a takeaway sushi shop and Young Soon’s participation in this family shop increased over time as her children became more settled in Australia. while others faced a complete change in direction and consequent periods of uncertainty as they adjusted to their new roles. His goal. she was able to re-adjust and take a longer-term view without abandoning her goal. including pizza delivery. there was still considerable uncertainty. However. Young Soon. while 33 participants mentioned concrete plans to move towards their employment goals and seemed to have a reasonable knowledge of the labour market in their current or desired fields.2. He held a number of jobs in Australia that did not require much English. Johnny was taking steps to improve his proficiency in business English through self-study. Young Soon seemed flexible in the employment goals for herself and her family. 2. was to secure any reasonably paid bluecollar job where his language skills would not pose a problem. 22 participants at CSWE III felt that external factors beyond their control made it difficult to formulate these plans precisely. Thus. but to practise and use his English. only two were certain about this plan and seemed to be clear on how to proceed. C01. He took great pride in the fact that he was a third-generation builder and had worked in the industry for his entire adult life. He was interested in mechanics and hoped to enrol in an introductory mechanics course at TAFE in a year’s time. Bulgaria. the realisation that qualifications and experience were not recognised in Australia was very demotivating. Johnny found employment as a fencer for four months. Peter. Although they were able to articulate their plans in concrete and realistic terms. After six months in Australia. Those with a clearly defined profession or occupation in mind found this easier. and when their goals proved more difficult to reach than they had initially thought. He also saw cultural differences in ways of working and the use of languages other than English in the industry as barriers to becoming a builder here and so he refocused his goals for employment. financial limitations. CSWE II Johnny was a bank manager for 16 years in Taiwan. Although he was Chapter 2 Goals and Pathways 13 . From the first interview. CSWE III Peter had worked as a builder in Germany. There was certainly some awareness that having qualifications recognised did not translate into the knowledge required for the workplace. He felt that at 40 he could not commit to the three years of full-time study necessary to qualify as a builder in Australia. C10. CSWE III Young Soon’s family arrived in Australia with a specific business plan in mind. The 40 participants who did not articulate any clear employment-related plans seemed uncertain about the level of language skill they would need in order to join the workforce. Many participants with prior qualifications faced the option of either retraining or further training in order to pursue their previous occupations. and the need to acquire or gain recognition for qualifications. like Johnny. planning to sit IELTS in order to study at TAFE to become an Australian-qualified optician. Young Soon was able to take a longer-term view in taking the steps towards her goal of owning and operating a livestock farm. These factors included family commitments. Nearly a quarter of those who said they wanted to do further training or education of some kind gave these factors as reasons why they needed to take a longer-term view when planning their futures. Johnny. This led some. he felt that others with higher English-language proficiency would be selected before him. like Peter. Working with people from a variety of backgrounds in this job helped him to gain in communicative competence and confidence.ophthalmologist in Australia was unrealistic and she refocused.

In Q1 he thought he would like to study at TAFE to do structural engineering. health concerns and travel plans that impacted on their plans. She also expressed interest in a finance course. and those who were able to identify goals often changed these over time. while seven seemed to have the general desire to set up in business rather than seek employment. In Q1 she wanted to improve her English through a course and work. arrived in Australia from Indonesia in December 2007. Although they provided rational reasons for these goals. three undertook a course in childcare but changed their minds about wanting to enter this field. However. Most participants at this level spoke of working in a skilled or semi-skilled field. 2. C01. Thus. Hogan. most had not yet started gathering the information they needed to pursue the pathway to these goals systematically. a beauty salon. Revaka. they did not articulate this wish in very concrete terms. although their high level of awareness of these was a first step in working out possible successful options. hairdresser or as a plumber.2. but did not know how and had not started the process of gaining the relevant information. she enrolled in a Preparation for Childcare Services course. they did not always seem equipped to pursue it. Twenty-six of the 57 participants at these levels made constant reference to their lack of language skills as a major impediment to finding a job or even to accessing information on what might be available to them. However.not entirely certain about exactly which occupation he would ultimately pursue. only one of these could be regarded as concrete. Other participants still seemed to be coming to terms with the limitations of their level of language proficiency for the requirements of their past or desired professions. In general. and all acknowledged the need for further language learning. As of May 2009. While 15 participants reported the need to undertake further study or training in order to access jobs. only two showed a degree of planning towards their goals. while 12 articulated goals in more general terms (such as a general need to improve English to be able to function appropriately in everyday life) and only had a vague idea of the courses they might take. She also said that she wanted to have her own pet shop. Her career plans changed over the course of the data collection from initially being interested in childcare to wanting to be a beautician. participants at CSWE II level talked about their employment goals in vague terms. Overall.3 CSWE I and pre-CSWE Participants at CSWE I level and pre-CSWE were also often vague about their goals and often talked about plans that were clearly unrealistic. she wanted to pursue a course at TAFE as a dental assistant. She wanted to do a bridging course in preparation for her university major but was unsure of her plans. 27. Lia. CSWE II Hogan is a 40-year-old male who arrived in Australia from China in February 2006. few participants at this level seemed to have either clear goals or pathways. such as family commitments. and eight said that they wanted to resume their previous occupations. it seemed that the idea of running a small business was an appealing alternative to the perceived challenges of entering the labour market. participants at CSWE II reported external factors beyond their control. such as in human resource administration. Rather. C01. as illustrated in the cases below. She did a practicum in the childcare course but eventually decided she did not want to work in this field. while 14 participants reported on plans for language learning. C01. vague terms (eg ‘perfect English’) or related to their own children (eg ‘wish to learn English to help them learn’). They did not. Many did not seem to have a very clear picture of what they needed to do to improve. Johnny was realistic and goaloriented in his approach to seeking employment in Australia in this early stage of his settlement. This seemed to contribute to a feeling of powerlessness. In Q2 she said she wanted to work in a laboratory. it was noticeable that there was more volatility in plans among CSWE II participants. Language was perceived as a barrier to being able to take control of their futures. CSWE II Lia. however. two took a course in business only because it was free of charge. CSWE II Revaka is a 28-year-old from India who arrived in Australia in December 2007. Strong wishes were often expressed in unrealistic. After her AMEP course. In Q2 he said he wanted to start some kind of business. Some completed a course and then decided to go in another direction. While they sometimes 14 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . Only five out of 22 participants reported concrete plans for their language learning. who tended to change plans from quarter to quarter more than the other two groups. generally display precise knowledge of either the nature of the businesses they intended to run or the market conditions for setting them up. and do a TAFE course for this. and although they had a future direction in mind. Like those at higher levels.

However. one participant reported that he had found a job in a factory through friends where he will not need to speak English. C01. At some point over the course of the project. However. In Lithuania she worked as a waitress and. CSWE II Vinny had been a primary school teacher in India but from the beginning of the project she wanted to pursue a career in customer service. After finishing her AMEP English course. As part of this. where she completed a certificate in tourism. those participants who had a specific profession or goal in mind were better able to take up appropriate pathways. especially if they had young children. This improved her confidence and self-esteem tremendously and she has started looking for a customer relations or human resource job at the same time as she is studying English with the AMEP through distance learning. However. she did not have much experience in this field. C01. they were still interested in finding ‘flexible options’ for reconciling their role within the family and outside. Kristina. A significant proportion of CSWE I and pre-CSWE participants had extended families or belonged to established communities in Australia. and consequently their plans and expectations in relation to language learning. Kristina worked in a Lithuanian club as a bartender. At least five of these reported that this was most likely to be their route to employment. most participants had no clear plans. There did not seem to be any particular trends relating to age or language background. After her arrival in Australia. Very few seemed to have sufficient information on the Australian vocational system to enable them to weigh up training options. However. 2. just under half (25) of these participants spoke concretely about the type of employment they would like and how to find a job. She planned to apply for a job as a flight attendant that she had seen advertised and also to travel agents. she undertook three weeks of work experience in administration at the educational institution where she was studying. Although there was a view that employment would give them the opportunity to improve their language skills. they did not seem to know much about the pathways they needed to follow in order to achieve their goals. as noted above.related their inability to make concrete plans to a lack of English-language skills. the data show that almost all were optimistic and had a positive view about their lives in Australia. so she returned to English classes. she said she was delighted that a TAFE institution had accepted her tourism qualification from Lithuania as sufficient to work in the tourism industry in Australia. Male participants more often seemed to feel the pressure to find employment in the short term. and throughout the data collection period she continued to explore the possibility of remaining in the field of hospitality. she tried to find a job but had no luck. She then enrolled in a part-time course in Human Resource Management at TAFE. She may still enrol in TAFE for a six-month tourism course to familiarise herself with the general English and specialist industry terms. even if the final outcome was not the one they had anticipated. they did not seem to have clear ideas on what might constitute ‘sufficient skills’ or to know about how to tackle the problem beyond enrolling in LLNP classes. Chapter 2 Goals and Pathways 15 . Four mentioned wanting to pursue other forms of training in order to find jobs. It was also noticeable that many women migrating on a spouse visa considered their primary role to be caring for the family. While 13 participants expressed the desire to find jobs that were the same or related to the ones they had pre-migration. many (45) participants were uncertain about their plans because of factors such as family commitments and travel. In the Q4 interview. Overall. the reasons for their choices or to know the necessary steps to be taken to achieve them. this time at level III. Having a clear goal seemed to help them to find out more information about the profession itself and related areas and to decide to embark on further training. which helped them with their initial settlement needs. except for a practicum as part of a certificate in tourism. in some cases. sometimes in an L1 environment. She stopped her English course in order to enrol in the AMEP’s Employment Pathway Program. although. strong first language (L1) networks were able to offer contacts for employment. nor about the related labour market. As at other levels.3 Pursuing goals Generally. and also more often expressed the desire to pursue occupations that would be satisfying in the longer term. CSWE II Kristina is a 23-year-old from Lithuania. further education and employment were often for the longer term. they did not even seem able to articulate clear expectations for their future. It also seemed to help them if it became necessary to change direction or adapt to unexpected circumstances. Vinny. the four participants who wanted to open their own businesses seemed to be quite informed about the market conditions and what they needed to explore before they did so. the level of education and English proficiency seemed to have the most impact on participants’ ability to express their goals and formulate plans.

16 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . first. By Q3 and Q4 they talked more about possible educational pathways. you’ve finished the 510 hours? Yes. where she had completed 11 years of education and had worked. [laughter] But now you’ve got to find the free time? Yeah. At the end of the data collection period he was working in an abattoir. arrived in Australia from South Africa in 2004 as a teenager. Her pregnancy soon after her arrival had delayed her plans to improve her English. The following section reports on the employment outcomes for the participants. right. This led some participants to take any job that was available. Li Ming’s plans became clearer as she found renewed motivation in learning English in order to open her own takeaway shop. even if it did not satisfy their expectations or fit in with their aspirations. early comments were often focused on learning English. her English was still basic. In Q4 he was enrolled in two programs. and hoped to do this by further study. pre-CSWE Roland. Now is working. Li Ming. CSWE I Bernie. this is And so is that enough English for you or do you want to learn more? [laughter] Now not enough free time. Roland. In Q3 he said that he wanted to continue to learn about electronics. C11. he wanted to apply for a dump truck driver’s licence to get a job in a mine. so English becomes very important for me because you have to talk with customers. He said he wanted to do a vocational course at TAFE. as in the case of Roland. CSWE I. as in the case of Li Ming. arrived in Australia from Burundi in August 2007. who said they wanted to get less labour-intensive job but were well aware that they needed to improve their English first. Bernie had lived in a refugee camp but in his home country he had studied electronic engineering for six months. Her husband also came from China but had lived in Australia for some time before he met Li Ming. Pl– planning to buy a takeaway shop Okay. C07. Q3 Researcher (R): Li Ming: R: Li Ming: R: Li Ming: R: Li Ming: Okay. These work and family responsibilities made it difficult to find the time to devote to the study of English. Although she had helped to run a small family business (a milk bar) since her arrival in 2000. Next – next half year. very eager to learn English well because Okay. CSWE I Li Ming came from China. Q3 Interpreter (Int): R: Int: R: Int: Yeah. In Q4 he said he would like to train to be a mechanic but needed to pass Certificate IV first. C08. CSWE I. I want to study English now Okay. Bernie. In the meantime. C08. and eventually get work in that area. originally from Kenya. and in Q3 and Q4 she worked as a casual cleaner. Li Ming. especially males. The example of Bernie demonstrates another trend found with some participants. in a factory and later in a cosmetics company. Sometimes this limited the time available to them to continue studying English. C08. but knew that his English would need to be better to be accepted into such a course. and participants said very little about other areas of study. the LLNP and a course in construction at TAFE. Li Ming. 24. possibly electronics. At pre-CSWE and CSWE I.Participants’ perceptions that their language skills were a barrier to employment often meant they were uncertain about what options were available to them and this delayed their decisions to take up further training or education. which he wanted to do part-time. [laughter] However delayed.

Norton 2000). While a large number of those employed came from CSWE III (39 out of 73 compared to 14 from CSWE II and 20 from CSWE I). Although the numbers were small. Lee and Miller 2002). At CSWE III.1. including language proficiency in English. slow down or inhibit language development for a variety of reasons. they may be explicitly forbidden to talk. social roles and connections. have a family or had a very high-status occupation pre-migration. 90 participants) and. as approximately half of participants who entered Australia in each of the migration stream categories (family. 2001. However. fewer participants at CSWE I were employed (44% of all participants at this level as opposed to 63% of those at CSWE II and 53% at CSWE III). and this included several who planned to finish studying before looking for work. versus 46%. employment is considered to be one indicator of settlement success and impacts directly on satisfaction and wellbeing in many ways. not CSWE III level. Lee and Miller 2002). they are refugees. Migrants often find themselves in workplaces where their first language or some language other than English is spoken (Goldstein 1997. 46% (41) were employed. most found employment in this period that was below the level of their previous occupations. Thus a little more than half of the participants in the study (79 or 51%) did not report working in paid employment during the period of the study. as shown in Table 2. as well as helping to establish language and cultural understanding. their proficiency in English may have been a handicap. of these. particularly if their English proficiency is low. The point at which it is beneficial to seek employment for an migrant depends on a variety of factors. self-esteem and social contact.2. Villenas 2001. employment was a goal for most participants in the longer term. 51 female). Nevertheless.4 Employment outcomes during the study As discussed above. However. Moreover. as approximately half of the participants in each of the other age groups found employment. This may explain why this group did not have the highest percentage of employment. where the numbers were small (7) and only one found employment. There did not seem to be any clear trends for CSWE level. and this improvement is related to a number of variables. As discussed above. In line with previous research (eg Chiswick. These include increased psychological and physical health. age. so that occupational status in early settlement is not necessarily a reliable indicator of the roles they will be able to access after a number of years (Chiswick. Of the 152 participants. and those who seek employment at the expense of their language development can easily get trapped into low-skilled. Migration stream did not seem to be a factor. When migrants arrive in Australia they often experience a sharp drop in the status of jobs compared with premigration levels. gender and years of schooling on whether or not participants found employment. so that most found employment at the lower skill level of the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO). Most (76%) of those employed. 49% (73) reported finding work at some time during the one-year data collection period. In some employment situations workers find themselves using a limited range of language and thus merely become confident in using a restricted English rather than extending their language development. Phillimore and Goodson 2008). participants at CSWE III level expressed a clearer idea of their education and employment pathways than did those at lower levels. Participants with the most education (13+ years) comprised the majority of the participants (59%. as well as providing an income. age did not seem to be a factor. a job does not necessarily confer greater opportunities to develop language skills (Teutsch-Dwyer 2001) and may. these figures reflect to a certain extent the higher representation of participants at CSWE III and I in the sample. With the exception of the 55+ age group. it was those with four to seven years of schooling who were the most likely to be employed (6 out of a total of 9). Lester (2005) warns against assuming that employment is always the principal factor in satisfaction and successful settlement. including financial pressures. 22 male. Masterman-Smith and Pocock 2008). starting in employment too soon can disadvantage migrants. Such experiences were also reported by our participants. only CSWE III participants found employment similar to their pre-migration work. humanitarian and skilled) were employed. a higher percentage of male participants were employed (55%. It is interesting to note. manual jobs or short-term work (Norton 2000. English-language level and self-esteem. and a sense of security (Lester 2005. this generally improves over time. although. like most (79%) of the participants. that employment was highest among participants at CSWE II level. suggesting that at this beginner level. if not immediately. in fact. Generally. were married. In others. however. as discussed below. Chapter 2 Goals and Pathways 17 .

These were mostly females at CSWE III. perfume shop) Bar tender Agricultural farmhand Driver Handyman Security guard eBay buyer and seller Clinic receptionist Childcare assistant Tram officer Laboratory manufacturing worker Aged care facility worker (as either cleaner or kitchen hand) Only 11 (15%) of participants found work in fields related to their previous occupations. of participants 1 6 7 4 14 3 14 24 73 The range of employment types undertaken by participants is listed in Table 2. sales and service workers (9) Labourers and related workers Total No.3.2: Participant employment types Employment type Cafe or restaurant staff Nail/beauty salon technician Factory worker (optical. 18 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . Table 2. as shown in Table 2.2.1: Current participant employment by ASCO major group classification ASCO major group classification name and number (1) Managers and administrators (2) Professionals (3) Associate professionals (4) Tradespersons and related workers (6) Intermediate clerical. store. sales and service workers (7) Intermediate production and transport workers (8) Elementary clerical.Table 2. food and dry good factories) Kitchen hand Cleaner Massage therapist Takeaway shop assistant Building construction labourer News agency/milk bar assistant Fast food assistant Hotel housekeeping worker Shop assistant (in various establishments such as bakery.

some chose not to work because they felt that they first needed to improve their English.Table 2. while for others it was more of a hindrance. In the first half of the data collection period. CSWE III Charles is a married Colombian male who enrolled in the AMEP in CSWE III. He has one child. so that. employment facilitated their English-language development. However. as he wanted to concentrate on his English.and post-migration Musician Construction surveyor Landscape architect Freelance interpreter Design company general manager Health and beauty import business owner Food and general goods shop owner L1 (Japanese) travel agent L1 (Japanese) teacher L1 (Mandarin) university tutor Web designer CSWE level CSWE I CSWE III CSWE III CSWE III CSWE III CSWE III CSWE III CSWE III CSWE III CSWE III CSWE III Gender Male Female Female Male Male Female Male Male Female Female Female The number of years that participants had been in Australia did not seem to be a factor in whether or not they gained employment comparable to the level of their pre-migration occupations during the period of the study. As discussed in the following chapter. Charles. Although this was not exactly the kind of landscaping that she had studied. C05. Some worked in a freelance capacity. He worked as an industrial designer in his home country. Some were looking for work but were unsuccessful. for some. Of the 78 (51%) participants who did not have paid employment during the period of the study. CSWE III Karen. His work required a lot of interactions in English. as discussed below. The extent to which participants’ language-learning experiences in the AMEP were helpful in gaining and continuing in employment is discussed in Chapter 4. two were CSWE II and three were CSWE III four arrived under the family visa scheme and five under the humanitarian scheme seven were married and two were single. the amount of English that participants used at work varied enormously. During Q1 of data collection she worked in her uncle’s newspaper shop but by Q2 she had found work in a landscaping company. In China she worked as a landscape designer. Chapter 2 Goals and Pathways 19 . Some participants explicitly chose not to work in order to further their studies. which he found quite challenging. Of the nine participants who reported being unable to find work: • • • • five were female and four were male four were CSWE I participants. he found work as a team leader in a furniture company. C09. while others tried to manage both. is recently married and has no children. he did not expect to secure work. a Chinese female who enrolled in a part-time evening class at CSWE III. Karen. while others had domestic responsibilities or were pursuing further study. At the time of the interview he had only been in the country for a few months. she felt comfortable because the work itself was not so challenging and she could do it well while she worked on developing her communication skills with colleagues and customers. while others found employment in which they were able to make use of their professional skills and training. Ten of the females who were not employed were doing volunteer work or work experience in preparation for finding employment.3: Participants who found employment related to their pre-migration occupations Occupation pre. The remaining participants were either unsuccessful in seeking employment or not seeking employment because of their personal circumstances or study goals (see below).

5%) (2/3.2% 5/22. 20 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . just under half of the participants who started the project (47.7% (8/36%) 7/9. Some were still in the AMEP. but she changed her mind after the birth of her first child. The total number of courses may be greater than the number of participants because some did more than one course.5%) The column headed ‘Post-AMEP’ shows the number and percentage of participants at each CSWE level who undertook post-AMEP courses. and the only participants enrolled at university level were in CSWE III.4: Post-AMEP education by CSWE level CSWE level Post-AMEP ESL Vocational focus Work exp.7% (4/18%) 21/28. having not yet completed their allocated hours. some could not afford the fees.5 Education post-AMEP – outcomes This section examines participants’ educational pathways after leaving AMEP and their impressions of postAMEP education. As noted above. In each of the columns.9%) 5/22. the numbers of those who enrolled in courses are given.8%(10/17.5% (4/7%) 1/1. Table 2. In Q1 she said she wanted to study more English and then enrol in a Child Service Course at TAFE. ‘University courses’ include foundation studies and undergraduate and postgraduate courses. C01. had childcare responsibilities.7% 18/24. with the majority of these doing courses such as English for Academic Purposes. At the end of Q4. the vast majority (all except one) who actually went on to do a vocational course were in CSWE II and III. It can be seen from Table 2.2% and 59% respectively).7% (16/21.5% (16/21. The next four columns show the kind of courses that they studied. Cherry. English for Further Study or English for Academic Purposes). and so they expressed interest in a number of different courses.3% 14/24. as some participants withdrew from the project and others were not contactable in Q4.3%) at CSWE I.8%(1/1.7%) 5/22. Those who did not continue with their education gave various reasons for this: some left because they needed paid employment to support families. Some of the participants who expressed an interest in courses went on to do them and are therefore also reported among the numbers of enrolments. like Cherry. or having been granted additional hours. while there was a high rate of participation in post-AMEP education among CSWE III and II (approximately 60.8%) Vocational 1/1. The actual number of enrolments may be higher.4 that. Thus there were not only lower levels of employment among CSWE I participants (see above). Although participants from all levels expressed the desire to do vocational and even university courses in the future. ‘Vocational focus’ courses and ‘Universitylevel’ courses. this was much lower (26. with the numbers of those who expressed an interest in the particular type of education given in brackets.3%) were involved in some form of post-AMEP education.9%) (2/9%) 2/2. They include English as a Second Language (ESL) courses (which cover further English-language study including LLNP. while others. ‘Vocational focus’ courses are either work experience courses provided by AMEP service providers (which usually include class instruction on expectations in the workplace and a work placement or Employment Pathway Program courses and other locally provided courses) or vocational courses provided by registered training organisations. choosing to stay at home to take care of him. some participants changed their minds during the project. Many of the CSWE III participants went on to higher levels of ESL. but also lower levels of post-AMEP education. Pre-CSWE/ CSWE I (4 centres: 57 participants) II (2 centres: 22 participants) III (5 centres: 73 participants) 15/26. Table 2.4 was compiled using data from across all four quarterly interviews and shows the actual and planned participation in post-AMEP education of the 152 participants during the data collection period.2. CSWE II Cherry arrived in Australia from China in November 2007 and is 24 years old.6% (2/2.7% (15/20.5%) University 13/59% 44/60. Not all of the participants had the opportunity to enrol in courses before the end of data collection.

C06. as discussed above. as most farm workers were also from nonEnglish-speaking backgrounds. overall the following trends were identified: • • • • many participants who continued with post-AMEP English-language courses found the expectations and workload very demanding participants planning vocational courses post-AMEP appreciated some guidance on relevant content AMEP job-related programs were popular the experience of some participants illustrates some of the issues in planning post-AMEP pathways. As far as participants’ experiences of post-AMEP courses is concerned. They cited specific examples of course content that helped them. She worked as a nursing aide and midwife before coming to Australia. Lily. Lily’s case is an example of this. CSWE II Lily arrived in Australia from China in 2007 and is 24 years old. CSWE III Danielle arrived in Australia from the Philippines in January 2008 and is in her mid-thirties. participants at CSWE III level expressed a clearer idea of their education and employment pathways than did those at lower levels. He continues to work as a taxi driver. he found factory work and was able to use English more often. She also did a practicum in a childcare centre. Danielle. When she finished her AMEP hours she enrolled in a Preparation for Children Services Course. Four participants at CSWE II undertook study and work in the same quarter (see the case of Lily below). wanted to work but found that their level of English was an impediment to finding the type of employment they wanted. CSWE I Tina arrived from Vietnam in 2006 and is 26. Lily worked in a Chinese bakery. During Q3 she was also enrolled in English evening classes at TAFE. her former profession. Sanjay applied for a real estate agent course. At the time of data collection she was working two jobs. one in an airline lounge and the other in a fast food outlet. while working as a taxi driver.While a number of participants enrolled in education at CSWE III also had part-time or full-time jobs. These constitute about 30% of participants at this level who were enrolled in further education. in Q2 and in food manufacturing in Q3. and then she did further study in English at TAFE. A number. and less everyday language. the vast majority of CSWE I participants with jobs did not continue with study. as expressed by the participants in the following two examples. By Q4 he had completed the course and intended to apply for a real estate licence and look for work in the industry. Tina. like Danielle. C01. In Q1. which she completed. Chapter 2 Goals and Pathways 21 . After this. She found this very demanding and stressful and she had to give up her AMEP hours in September 2008 because she could not manage to study English and do these jobs. The entire time she was studying. C03. When he arrived in Australia he did not speak English and found it difficult to find work. she completed Certificate III in Children’s Services with Mission Australia. This may explain why this group did not have the highest percentage of employment. Some of those going on to vocational courses or vocational English courses said they would like the AMEP to do more preparation for these courses. As discussed earlier in this chapter. and this included several who planned to finish studying before looking for work. He worked on farms in Queensland where there was little opportunity to use English. Only one was identified as doing both. She worked in a nail salon. and chose to withdraw from study. however. Those who went on to further English classes reported a ‘big jump’ in both the level of English and the ‘strictness’ of class in the post-AMEP courses. found it too difficult to manage both study and employment. C02. Sanjay. 10 (22%) were also working. Some. On his return to Sydney. CSWE III Sanjay is a 33-year-old male with a young family who arrived in Australia from India 16 years ago. He believed this course and this avenue of employment offered his family a better future. such as preparing a curriculum vitae (CV) or preparing for job applications. Of those who enrolled in post-AMEP courses. By Q2 he had completed one semester and was half-way through the course.

academic class or No for Any special class or. And actually about listening and reading tests also concern with. employment context. However. with her past experience. yeah. yes. CSWE II. A now yeah. and wanting to do a two-year diploma course in chemistry. R: Violet: Learners often reported that they liked AMEP job-related programs. And we practise a lot of that. so we lots research about one of – one of specific job and we try to writing complaint letter and we change the formal writing. which involved a two-week work placement preceded by workplace preparation and followed by classes building on the experience) or the Employment Pathway Program (a DIAC-funded Employment Preparation Program pilot). 22 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . C10. And I – I learned – learned in there many kind of job. that’s fantastic. [laughter] Hm. Oh. Her former occupation was as a laboratory chemist. for job seeking. It was useful for me about when [name teacher] [laughter] uhm teach – teach us about work how to improve our English in workplace. How to write CV. It sorry? It helps you a lot? Yes. employment context in Australia. So it help me a lot yeah. CSWE III Pita arrived in Australia from Peru in November 2007. Yeah. It was useful for me. Australian op–. had helped her learn about life in Australia. Uhmhm. Chin Chin did not have the prerequisite Englishlanguage skills for a Certificate III course relevant to her employment goals and yet enrolled in a course anyway. Oh. The experiences of some participants also illustrate some of the issues related to the planning and following through of post-AMEP educational pathways.Kristina. C06. CSWE III. Right and what is that. C01. Yeah. Everything about workplace. she was not able to pass the certificate because of her English-language proficiency. Yeah. In Q3 she spoke about enjoying working in a laboratory during the ‘Work It Out’ program. For example. C10. either local programs such as ‘Work It Out’ (a program offered in Tasmania. Q2 R: Violet: R: Violet: R: Violet: R: Violet: R: Violet: R: Violet: R: Violet: Well. she could do the diploma in one year. And so you’re in 4A. as a receptionist in a women’s health centre. and that these helped with their planning. She is 39 years old. although she passed the practical component. Pita. And send email and Like a formal email to people? Yes to boss or I think. She is 35. Wonderful. In Q3 Pita said that the ‘Work It Out’ program work placement. CSWE III Zhi Li arrived in Australia from China in September 2002. How to write cover letter. Q3 Kristina: Of this yeah. Zhi Li. Job seeking. She found out that. R: Kristina: R: Violet. I think is.

They helped her with day-to-day communication in the workplace. CSWE III Jeannie came to Australia from China in October 2006. C08.6 Summary and implications • • • • • Participants at CSWE III level and those with well-defined professional backgrounds were better able to articulate their goals and identify pathways to reach them. She was a primary school teacher in China. Some participants who went on to further English courses found the level of English required quite challenging. despite limited English. so did not receive the certificate. sensitive and intensive educational counselling is crucial. there was widespread interest in courses in childcare. In summary. aged care or the beauty therapy industry across all CSWE levels. The few who found work comparable to their pre-migration occupations often also found the level of English required quite challenging. should be given regular access to educational counselling throughout their study in the AMEP to assist in the identification of achievable goals and achievable pathways and time lines. although follow-through towards these goals was inconsistent. She was a CSWE I level learner who passed the housekeeping practical competencies in a Certificate III vocational course but did not get competencies involving language. However. which gave her a qualification as a teacher of a Language Other than English. This suggests that clients. She had completed CSWE Certificate III at AMEP. clients should be assisted to develop a realistic understanding of their own language-learning process and progress and a focused understanding of the language proficiency required by different employment and study options. but got a job regardless. but she did manage to successfully negotiate leave from work with a supervisor on her own. reach an understanding of what is required to reach them and refocus these where appropriate. She was so focused on working that she left the AMEP early and did the vocational course because she felt it would be more useful. this chapter has outlined the following findings related to the participants’ goals and pathways: • • • • The pressure of earning an income and caring for family competes with the potential benefits of post-AMEP education for many participants.Chin Chin. and was accepted into a postgraduate teacher education course. felt pressure to earn income and meet childcare needs. The case of Jeannie illustrates the gap between the highest CSWE qualification and the language prerequisite for professional courses. As part of this process. awareness of this reality developed over time. In some cases.5. 2. At lower levels there was greater uncertainty and volatility of goals and plans. Jeannie. CSWE I Chin Chin. 38. in particular those with young children. She found a job working as a housekeeper in a hotel where there were a number of other speakers of her L1. Chapter 2 Goals and Pathways 23 . this is an unusual outcome. while the CSWE III course equivalent is 5. C09. English-language competence was seen as a barrier to appropriate employment and this realisation was intensified at lower CSWE levels. These interactions should allow sufficient time for them to clarify their goals. Even participants who wanted to continue their pre-migration occupations had to refocus on appropriate goals and pathways to achieve their goals in Australia. Younger learners were more likely to aspire to professional careers and take time to study. Setting up a small business was appealing to many participants. particularly those at lower levels.0. but few had a clear idea of how to do this or a plan to pursue. This is an issue because there are very few English courses providing instruction in English at a level high enough to prepare migrants for university-level courses. while older participants. Translating courses were also popular. as this type of course requires an IELTS score of at least 6. came to Australia from Burma in September 2007. and thus the importance of helping migrants in these early stages of settlement to formulate and clarify their goals and plan their post-AMEP pathways. Among women. Since many did not seem to be aware of the range of possibilities available or what was needed in order to access them. The analysis here has highlighted the benefits of having clear goals and good information on how to achieve them.

as a first point of contact with English-speaking Australia. Notes 2 In order to protect the anonymity of participants. all names used in this report are pseudonyms. such as setting up a small business. translating and interpreting. As discussed in the following chapters.5. the AMEP can play an important role in helping to address these issues.Good information relating to popular career path choices. and childcare. 24 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . This might help to avoid hasty choices and too many consequent changes in direction. should be readily available so that clients can consider as carefully as possible the range of options available in relation to their own personal goals. There also needs to be some attention given to the gaps and anomalies in the post-AMEP pathways illustrated by the cases of Jeannie and Chin Chin in the final part of Section 2.

Chapter 3 Use of English for everyday life Chapter 2 Goals and Pathways 25 .

26 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

together with an indication of how frequently each context was mentioned.Chapter 3 Use of English for everyday life In this chapter the contexts in which the participants reported using English and the people with whom they interacted are considered.. real estate agent) Medical services/prescriptions L1 friends Phone interactions Newspapers Internet Books Spouse/at home Neighbours Public services (eg Centrelink. listening.1. Medicare) Letters/bills Public transport No. and their answers were probed.. the number of participants who noted a particular context or situation in which they used English is also reported. In order to identify patterns in their use of English. These are summarised in Table 3. Thus in their interviews. Chapter 3 Use of English for Everyday Life 27 . but analysis of the interview and language network diagram data allowed researchers to distil a list of the major contexts in which they reported using English and the number of times they were mentioned by participants. 3. sometimes by means of a language network diagram. participants most often reported speaking in English. 88 told us that they used English with friends and so on. The diagram then becomes the centre of a discussion about their language use and becomes a concrete aid to reflection. 101 participants made mention of shopping as a context in which they used English. as can be seen in the table.1: Contexts in which participants reported using English Context Shopping Friends Work TV Private services (eg bank. Analysis is based largely on interview discussions regarding where participants used English and with whom. While we sought information on their use of all four language skills (speaking. of participants who mentioned each 101 88 74 65 62 59 53 53 53 42 40 39 (4 mix of languages) 39 37 34 28 cont . reading and writing). Because of the nature of the interviews. not all participants were able to name specific locations in which they used English.1 Use of English in everyday life During the interviews the participants were asked to say where they used English in their daily lives. Table 3. This is a diagram that is drawn by the researcher and the participant together on which they mark where and when and with whom the participant uses different languages.

and was avoided by some participants for this reason. Participants cited examples of feeling inadequate in a shopping encounter or on public transport when they could not understand directions or train announcements. such as watching television and movies. extracurricular etc) Radio Child’s school Driver’s licence Religion Job applications/searches Filling in forms Childcare Making an appointment SMS (text messaging) No. age did bring some variation. Like Mary. however. These friends were often from another language background and so English was used as a lingua franca. In Q1 she states she is running her own cleaning business. Overall. varied widely. these contexts were broadly similar in most cases. Many also. medical contexts. of participants who mentioned each 27 20 19 19 18 18 18 16 15 14 13 6 As can be seen from Table 3. these interactions were often restricted and routine in nature. and at her level of English (CSWE III) this did not extend her English-language use. or even rather than. they were also at times unpredictable and presented challenges when all did not go smoothly. C05. For example. even if they were present during activities. The kinds of interactions that occurred in these contexts. although. One participant reported being too shy to ask for help in the supermarket. Child groups did not always require much interaction between parents. She is newly arrived and worked as a manager in a leather company in her home country. Mary. such as Centrelink. as the family commitments of participants varied at different stages of life. so she had to spend a long time looking for an item and then leave if unsuccessful. as discussed in more detail below. as Mary’s case illustrates.. 28 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . overall. although these were often undertaken as strategic language use exercises as much as for. In Q2 she reports she is able to manage telephone conversations with various businesses to obtain information about business insurance for her husband and in Q3 says she is more confident in her conversations with the doctor and midwife. While many participants reported feeling more comfortable talking to children. although shopping was the most often cited situation in which they used English.. She attributes her improvement in using English to having many friends from different nationalities and using only English when conversing with her friends. however. and reports further improvement in Q4 with understanding medical terminology during these visits. regardless of language or educational background or CSWE level. interactions around childcare could sometimes be very limited. and at the bank and the real estate agent. Cont Context Movies Random interactions Social groups (volunteering. One participant reported how they simply executed the leader’s instructions. followed by communicating with friends in English. or had to return items at a clothes shop.1. participants also cited using English at work and to conduct service encounters in contexts where they managed their affairs. as many pointed out. could sometimes be challenging. reported feeling more confident shopping as they gained in experience and proficiency. CSWE III Mary is married with one child. shopping was the most frequently cited occasion for the use of English. She is from Colombia and is aged 35–44. Participants also reported listening to English during activities that are usually associated with entertainment. Dealing with the children’s school. as the discussion in the next section illustrates. and listening to the radio. However. the contexts in which all participants reported using English were those related to settlement and everyday life and. however. entertainment..

participants generally reported becoming more independent and having to rely less on other people. Over the four quarterly interviews. CSWE III Initially. changing her job to one in which she had more speaking opportunities and joining a pottery class. those with children and older participants reported interacting more with doctors and midwives. he became involved in doorknocking in the community. and for some of these the religious community offered a setting in which they could use quite a lot of English. interacting with teenagers who do not understand Arabic. However. Dan. so that by Q4 she felt very comfortable in Australia. tickets and so on. rather than take up a study option. after leaving the AMEP or having a baby. Participants commented least on their use of writing outside the educational context. at the hospital and so on. This was sometimes a spouse. as everyone in his immediate community had the same L1 background. decided to open up to others. felt little involvement in the wider English-speaking community in Sydney. Others found that. packets. However. initially said that she felt uncomfortable and limited in her English interactions with her partner’s friends. they often spoke of reading newspapers (often local papers or free papers). for example Canada (Han 2009). Some participants reported attending English-language services even though in the beginning they did not really understand what was going on. Some participants increased their use of English and reported new working circumstances or joining a new social club or taking up an extracurricular activity in which they now had to use English. including literacy. which had been mostly L1 speakers. friend or interpreter. one participant reported going to Bible study at church on Saturday night and then attending a Sunday morning service followed by social gatherings. support and English. Their increasing control over English was therefore more often reflected in greater perceived independence and confidence rather than in extension of the contexts in which they used English. It seems that such religious communities offered a social network. although this differed considerably according to personal circumstances. There was particular mention by participants at all CSWE levels of anxiety in using the telephone. and the most commonly noted book was the Bible. so that he only needed to speak Arabic. He has become involved at church on both Saturdays and Sundays. It is highly likely that the participants also read in other contexts. such as signage. many of the contexts in which they said they used English also involved reading and writing. and when they did. In Q4 Dan reported that his involvement in the wider community had expanded to include not only his church services (which he now preferred attending in English) but also to doing the shopping and meeting with his brother’s teachers at school. for example. but that they did not think to mention this specifically as reading. regardless of their level of English. a CSWE III participant from Colombia. Two or three reported praying in English by Q3 or Q4. Thus using English in Centrelink or at the bank would have demanded a range of skills. and interpreters were often used for important appointments. For example.It is worth mentioning that 18 participants talked of undertaking religious activity in English. a 16–24-year-old single student from Egypt. such as international students (Terraschke 2009). this often seemed to be a focal point in their lives where they made social connections. Most participants reported having someone who could help them with difficult interactions. and some engaged in this activity quite regularly. Cherry. over the period of the study she showed an increase in the contexts and roles in which she was using English. For example. They often noted difficulty understanding other speakers (either because of accent or because they spoke too fast) or difficulty being understood and the embarrassment and frustration that this caused. magazines and junk mail. and they spoke mostly of form-filling. Several participants who had babies during the study period found that they used English less after the birth of their children. requiring all communication to be in English. when his religious community. the worlds in which they used English contracted considerably and in some cases disappeared. Few participants spoke of reading books in English. For those who went to church. Some participants attended both English language and their L1 services. Participants less often commented on specific reading activities in English. severely restricted her opportunities to speak English (see also Chapter 2). At work she only had limited opportunities to extend her use of English (see below) and her partner did not correct her mistakes. Lucia. We found that pregnant participants. found that her choice to stay at home with her baby. By Q2 Dan has broadened his involvement in the community through his church. Dan. a child or other family member. C05. Chapter 3 Use of English for Everyday Life 29 . although official letters were also mentioned. as well as speaking and listening. and among other groups in Australia. Another reported how. This phenomenon has been noted in other countries.

Abrar. Facebook. date of arrival and CSWE levels. resulting in a lack of confidence. and so she found that she had few opportunities to use English. we examined the patterns of language use reported by participants of different ages. 17 had been here for more than three years: see Table 1. participants at lower CSWE levels also reported finding their lack of English proficiency a barrier. More participants at this level reported that they had stopped relying on an interpreter for medical interactions or started doing extracurricular activities such as playing music in a band. 3. taking pottery classes or volunteering for a festival. The interactions reported at lower levels (up to CSWE II) tended to be more formulaic. In order to address the research question relating to how engagement with English differed for different groups. C08. her involvement in the community was limited to attending classes and shopping with classmates after class. Abrar was a doctor in her home country. Thus the few (seven) participants over 55 reported proportionally the most involvement in their wider communities through churches.5). The data were analysed to see if there were any trends in the use of English that related to how long participants had been in Australia. and loss of a sense of identity and power. She described this as one of the sacrifices that a mother must make. doctor’s visits. eBay. shyness. She makes an effort to ask questions when she is out so that she can practise her English.Cherry. It was not participants in the youngest age group but those between 25 and 44 who reported the highest use of the internet in English. interactions with schools were reported more frequently by those over 35. It seems that the extra proficiency in English allowed them to participate in such activities in ways that they could contribute usefully. Abrar’s contact within the wider community involves shopping. although this variation related more to stage of life and therefore life circumstances rather than age per se. She talks to her neighbours and frequently visits the local library. 30 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . C01. CSWE II Cherry is a 24-year-old married Chinese female with one child (born during the project). She applied to do a childcare course at TAFE but decided to postpone it so that she could continue breastfeeding her baby. tax online. As noted above. as noted above. volunteer work and social chats with neighbours. Participants aged 45–54 more often reported relying on someone for help with interactions. She has been in Australia for one year and was a chemical engineer in China. while those reported by participants at CSWE III were more complex. but those over 45 also seemed to speak with neighbours relatively frequently compared to younger participants. age seemed to impact the most on the kinds of contexts where participants reported using English. In Q3 Cherry reported that she spent all her time at home looking after her new baby. C06. She has been in Australia for one year and taught traditional Chinese music before coming to Australia. She has three children and has been in Australia for two years. both spoken and written. CSWE III Abrar is a married female aged 35–44 from Iraq. She also attends church services but these are conducted in Mandarin. perhaps. Cherry was pregnant with her first child. In Q4 Cherry reported that she had regular visits to the early childhood health centre. CSWE I Li Li Lin is a 73-year-old married female from China with two children. and interactions involving childcare were more frequently reported by those aged 25 to 34. While CSWE level certainly made a difference in many cases to the degree of confidence felt by respondents in these interactions. Because they were mostly relatively new arrivals (63 participants had been here less than a year and 50 for a year.2 Variation among individuals There was a huge variation among individuals with regard to where and to what extent they used English outside of class. At all levels participants reported restricted opportunities to use English (see Chapter 5). comparisons between the groups can only be indicative. Not surprisingly. participants at all levels still reported interacting in a similar range of contexts. and they generally reported using English. During Q1 and Q2. levels of education. which they used socially (email. while only 22 had been here for two years. gender. language and cultural backgrounds. meeting with her children’s teachers and interacting with her neighbours who come from diverse backgrounds. Li Li Lin. Only one of these participants was working and she seemed to be able to take the time to interact more widely. looking for schools etc). As noted in Chapter 2. blogs and chat) and transactionally (job-seeking. There were also more participants in this age bracket trying to get a driving licence. Apart from regular visits to her doctor. Many cited the AMEP as one of the few places in which they spoke English. in a wider range of contexts.

a common theme found across participants from all levels and backgrounds was that opportunities for social interaction in English. Social engagement of this kind was the highest proportionally among those who had been here more than four years. The participants come from 12 different source regions that were unequally represented in the sample. they also reported proportionally more interactions with private service providers. religious communities or with other social groups with which they might work in a volunteer capacity. Participants at beginner and intermediate levels reported a loss of social interaction in English after they had left the AMEP. however. As noted in Chapter 5. and they were often left feeling like outsiders. Participants from North Africa (five) reported interactions with childcare personnel/teachers at their children’s schools and with public service providers such as Centrelink proportionally more often than any other group. Together with participants from Eastern Asia. Chapter 3 Use of English for Everyday Life 31 . Researchers also examined the data to see if female and male participants reported using English in a markedly different way. However. proportionally. Because family responsibilities can make a difference to the need to interact in English and the opportunities that there might be to do so (Norton 2000). and participants from all parts of Africa also reported filling in forms more frequently. They also reported using English for religious purposes and having interactions with friends in English more often. preferring to stay in the comfort zone of their L1 social network. perhaps since many of them have used English as medium of instruction or as a lingua franca for many years. Males without children more often said they engaged in interactions when shopping. but that they have had more time to develop social relations through English. As noted in Chapter 1.3 Use of English socially As noted above. Since higher levels of education tended to also mean higher levels of English. participants who had been in Australia longer had at least some form of contact with English-speaking friends/acquaintances etc. and using the telephone and talking to neighbours in English. and these were often speakers of English from another language background. female participants reported having interactions at childcare/children’s school only slightly more often than the males. They did. Not surprisingly. Participants at CSWE I spoke socially in English mostly with friendly neighbours and community members who did not speak their L1. Proportionally. participants who had been in Australia the longest also reported less engagement with public or private service providers. Medicare etc) slightly more than those without children. males reported proportionally more frequently that they used English for interactions in public service encounters and also mentioned filling in forms as something they did in English. They found this interaction useful because these friends would help them with their English in unfamiliar situations or on the telephone. 3. were very limited. especially with native speakers. At this level. this may have increased their personal comfort but may not have been an advantage for their English-language learning. Proportionally. The main difference between women with children and without children seems to be that. they also appear to talk to their neighbours and engage in interactions with public service providers (Centrelink. it is difficult to separate these two factors when considering when and where English was used. involvement in extracurricular activities. They also reported using English to socialise with friends in English. However. Even those who had English native-speaking spouses reported feeling lonely and isolated because they could not fully communicate with the native speakers they met. North Africans also reported going to English-language religious gatherings relatively frequently. Participants from South-East Asia seemed to report heavier reliance on family members and friends for certain interactions and perhaps because of the strength of their L1 networks (see Chapter 5). females (112) outnumbered males (40) in the sample. Thus it seems that after a longer period in Australia their lives may become more settled and so they do not need to use English as frequently for some services. perhaps because of the extra engagement with services and the community that parenting can bring. consistently report talking to neighbours. so any patterns of English-language use that were noted will reflect this imbalance.On the one hand. particularly at the beginning of the data collection period. They also reported proportionally slightly higher rates for relying on a family member for interactions. both women with children and men with children report relying on someone else more often than those without children. however. used the internet and dealt with letters in English. researchers looked to see if there were any differences in the reported interactions of females and males with children. many reported that they lacked the confidence to put themselves in the situation where they would make English-speaking friends. reliance on the support of another English-speaking family member was found to be highest among the most recent arrivals. Eastern Asian participants reported more frequent use of the internet in English.

This lack of social contact was a real issue for many of the participants. As discussed further in Chapter 5. which compounds the situation and so on. She did not understand how to make social contacts under these circumstances. which can lead to a loss of confidence. He shares a flat with other people from diverse backgrounds. Social activities in larger groups were a particular challenge. circular situation: limited opportunities to use English mean limited opportunities to practise. and asked one of the researchers if it would be a good idea to go and sit in a bar by herself so that she could find people to talk to. this was sometimes helpful. she in fact finds it has the opposite impact on her English-language development. Those who had made friends with local people found this experience very useful in increasing their confidence and feeling settled. CSWE III Catherine is a 16–24-year-old married female with no children. They met these through the AMEP.Participants at CSWE II also reported that they spoke socially in English mainly with friends from other language backgrounds. For example. Her husband has lived in Australia for 30 years and has been married previously. In Q2 he explains how a very close friend who is Israeli and with whom he speaks English introduced him to some other Iranians. so English is used as their common language. Where the spouse was a native speaker of English. Because it would have been rude to speak Persian in front of his Israeli friend. but these are multiplied when simultaneously trying to understand a new culture and use a language in which proficiency is limited. Although this English-speaking environment should be supportive for Rhonda. She communicated in English with her husband and felt more comfortable with English in this environment than in other contexts. There was more diversity among participants at CSWE III. Her husband and his children all speak English well and while her husband speaks Arabic with her. religious groups. and this varied considerably according to the language background of their partners. as well as someone to practise their English with. which means that levels of spoken English are unlikely to improve. many of whom they had met at the AMEP. However. but it also sometimes created issues that might have longer-term consequences for feelings of self-esteem and identity. 3. C05. In Q3 Rhonda explained that she cannot understand what the children are saying when they speak English to each other and it appears that they do not try to speak slower for her benefit or try to explain things for her. For example.4 Use of English in the family The family was another domain in which some participants used English. Anna (a 38-year-old married ophthalmologist whose case was included in Chapter 2) was lonely and concerned at her lack of contact with native speakers and felt she did not know how to go about making new contacts in Australia. making new social connections is a challenge. C06. He appears to have a fairly wide social network. Even by Q4 she was at a loss as to how to make friends. the children only have limited understanding of Arabic and speak English all the time. neighbours and their participation in various courses. She commented that in China people go out for a stroll after dinner and talk to neighbours. as in the case of Catherine. He is newly arrived in Australia and worked in information technology and as a translator in his home country. In Q4 he explains that he sits and chats with friends from TAFE during breaks. at work. he had to explain to her the ‘bad words’ used in Summer Heights High. as in the case of Rhonda. the largest group in the sample. but that at that time the streets in Australia are deserted. and the participants often lacked the personal language that might be useful in more intimate discussion among friends. In Q2 she talked about how she always asks her husband about anything she does not understand when watching television. She has three step-children who do not live with them full-time and come to stay with them on weekends. He is studying hairdressing at TAFE. this is an unhelpful. She was a sales representative in Korea. Whenever someone moves to a new environment. C03. they all spoke English together. Barriers to making such friendships ranged from the previously mentioned issue of a lack of confidence to practical issues related to the time restrictions imposed by family commitments. and in Q1 she reported feeling that she was not learning any more English and she was not improving. through spouses and housemates. CSWE III Kamran is a 25–34-year-old single Iranian man. She is from South Korea and is newly arrived in Australia. they also mentioned the difficulty of understanding speakers from other language backgrounds and the difficulties of making friends in a new culture where social contacts were very different. Catherine. It gave them someone they could ask for information and help. Rhonda. 32 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . CSWE III Rhonda is a 31-year-old married female from Lebanon. Kamran. In Q3 he describes his socialising with his work colleagues after work and on the weekends. yet most also reported connections with their L1 network and using English socially mainly with friends from other language backgrounds.

One reported that she had never heard her son speak English but that the neighbours had told her that he speaks it very well. since she had to express herself through a language in which she was not fully proficient. Lucia. although some report trying to practise speaking English with selected members of the family or switching to English with visitors. as noted above. simply because otherwise she would have to translate everything. For example. while others refuse to use their L1. by herself. one participant. Thirteen participants whose partners speak the same L1 reported using a mix of languages at home. having used it in South Africa prior to coming to Australia. A few participants seemed to shift from using mostly L1 to a mix of languages. This can be particularly demotivating if the more proficient spouse is not at the same time supportive of their partner’s efforts to learn and use English. One participant says that it is easier for her to switch into English when her husband is with her and her children. Twenty-five participants with native-speaking partners who did not share their L1 reported using mostly English at home. Because children often go to school where they learn English much more quickly than their parents. a 34-year-old from Colombia. such as visiting the doctor. said near the beginning of the project that she felt that she in some way had a ‘reduced personality’.Of the 73 participants with a partner who speaks the same L1. 34 reported predominantly using their L1 in the family. For example. dealing with bills and letters. He speaks both English and Somali at home. but sometimes other languages with particular family members. Only one participant with a spouse more competent in English reported that this dependence had changed over the course of the data collection period and that she had now started to undertake interactions in the community. One participant reported that her husband does not even want her to go shopping because of her English. children complicated issues of language use in the family. such as negotiating with tradespeople. language can be a source of tension. and 15 participants reported that they were dependent in this way to a certain degree for their assistance in day-to-day interactions. For some. He believes that the less Somali they use at home. the more the children will lose it. so he did not want to use English with them at home and they will just learn it at school. Where another family member is more competent in English. Where the English proficiency of the children is high. Some found that their partners and their families made an effort to facilitate communication. One participant reported using her L1 with her brother at home. so they are now losing their L1. they may take over interactions with the wider community or more complicated communications. sometimes his children use English to each other and he may then forget and use English as well – only to be reminded by the children to speak Somali. arranging appointments and interpreting at appointments. Hawiye. Thus the partner with the higher level of English often took over the more demanding communicative tasks. especially if the spouse refuses to practise English. this consistent use of English can bring difficulties. In Q4 he said that the more he uses English with his children. As noted above. and that his wife only speaks Somali. C10. often L1 with the spouse but English with others. but not with her daughter. Another indicated that the children were helpful as someone to practise with or help with explanations or vocabulary or interpreting. His children speak English. However. He was a businessman in Somalia. who said that their children have commented on their bad pronunciation or seem embarrassed about their parents’ English. although she believed she was ready to do this. CSWE III Hawiye is a 35–44-year-old married male from Somalia. the issue of language maintenance in the family is an important and often emotional one. such as their children or other people’s children. the more they lose their L1. Some participants reported that their children refused to speak English with them. Hawiye said he was keen for them to maintain their L1 and so he pushed for them to use it. and the partners varied in how supportive they were of the participant’s language learning and efforts to practise. Some participants reported that their children refused to speak English with their parents at home. Hawiye. one participant said that she wanted to learn English more so that she could communicate better with her child’s school and help with homework and so on. However. using L1 at home is a matter of principle in order to maintain their L1 proficiency. and this was reported by two participants. Some English-speaking partners insisted only English be used in the Chapter 3 Use of English for Everyday Life 33 . She noticed that her partner spoke differently to her than to his friends and he had told her that he did not like to correct her language because he thought her mistakes were cute. reported deliberately speaking Somali at home. However. Others spoke of their frustration in not being fully able to express their feelings in English. Some of the 38 participants with a partner with the same L1 who have children or grandchildren see the latter as an important source of or motivation for English-language learning. In both Q1 and Q3. He has two children and is newly arrived in Australia. particularly with the children. and of the difficulties caused when they could not understand something. there is also the potential that the children will make negative comments on the English-language competence of their parents.

As discussed in Chapter 2. This is potentially a very distressing situation for a migrant. Another. and while for some. While these restricted opportunities 34 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . Anne. Her husband discouraged her from using her L1 with the children. then she may be unable to fully communicate with them. Her husband and children all speak English fluently and English is the main language spoken at home. and while some participants said that they did not need to read or write at work at all. 3. By the end of data collection. anticipated that employment would help them to particularly develop their spoken skills in English language. As Norton (2000) illustrates. but the children appear to be critical of her use of English. six participants reported that their children no longer spoke the L1 much.5 Use of English at work As reported in the previous chapter. like Dan. as illustrated in the following vocabulary sets mentioned by participants: • • • • • massage therapy-related vocabulary factory-related vocabulary technical vocabulary for a design company nicknames for cigarettes phrases for answering the telephone at work. One participant reported that whenever she spoke to her son in Mandarin. can no longer do so and has asked her to speak English with him.1 Interactions in the workplaces and overall trends Participants mentioned needing both specific work-related talk and social talk for work. others. and they may even come to ridicule her attempts to use English. and she has become linguistically marginalised in the family as a result. like Irene and Lily. repetitive and formulaic expressions rather than the opportunity to engage in non-routine or extended interactions. while their mothers gained more slowly in their English-language competence and were no longer able to speak their L1 with their children. which was often quite specialised and varied from workplace to workplace. If her children do not even share the one language in which she is fully proficient. telling her when she is wrong.5. Her son. he answered in English. even though they did use some Tagalog at first. usually the mother. and ultimately for the family as a whole. 3. their workplaces were diverse and this was not always the case. If she is unable to gain full proficiency in English in the way that her children and the rest of the family have. 49% (74) of the participants reported finding work at some time during the one-year data collection period. While many participants. particularly at CSWE I and II. from the Philippines. and how these varied for different learner groups. CSWE III Anne is a 27-year-old married female from the Philippines. who became a security guard. reported that her husband asked her to use English at all times in the house so that his children from a previous relationship who do not share her L1 know what is going on. The demands of the different workplaces varied enormously. there is considerable potential for discord and a rupture in lines of communication in the family. She has been in Australia for a year but her husband has been here for 15 years. Anne. C06. As a result. as the children grow up and not only become fluent in English but also relate strongly to Australian cultural values. in some families the children no longer spoke their L1 as they grew in proficiency. others reported the following specific reading and writing tasks required in their workplace: • • • • • reading occupational health and safety manuals reading signage around work filling in timesheets reading policies and rules writing meal orders. then she may become marginalised in the family. most were employed in lower-level jobs. Issues relating to work talk included the need to acquire work-related She has three older step-children and she and her husband have two children together. work provided the opportunity to improve their language skills. who used to speak to her using her L1. as reported by two of the participants. This section deals with the kinds of interactions they reported engaging in at work. noted that it primarily provided practice in routine. and the former generally seemed to be less problematic for them than the latter.

Hhhhmm. Some issues I have to do so – some problems some things. one people mm … some peoples I understand. some peoples I don’t understand. I don’t understand. C08. she soon realised that her English did not improve at all. Lily. Li Ming. formulaic phrases like ‘Which bread?’ and ‘Here’s your change’. So there’s some situations that I have to speak. yeah. She was initially quite excited about her new job as a ticket inspector because it gave her much more opportunity to speak to people. I – it – it didn’t add anything to my language … Mhm … But it gave – it gave me like confidence. [continues in L1] Chapter 3 Use of English for Everyday Life 35 . Q3 R: Gilberto: R: Gilberto: Do you talk to your colleagues? Yes … Yeah. Ah it depend. who worked as a cleaner and had run a milk bar. yeah. However. So my job help me like give – ga– gave me like the opportunity to – to be confident of myself. where he felt he could not cope with this easily. Dan. ah. And were your customers good teachers? Yeah good teacher. I need but sometimes many peoples a– aski me. R: Dan: R: Dan: Irene. they did not extend them beyond their comfort zone in ways that develop their language skills. supervisor or colleagues difficult. she found that all she needed to do to carry out the limited conversations required at work was to memorise work-related words. but I don’t understand sometimes. CSWE III Lucia worked as a waitress in a cafe before joining a transport company as a ticket inspector. and then I ask my customer teach me. Another illustration comes from CSWE I participant Li Ming. how are you? Where you from? Do you like this jobi ah but. Okay right. as most of the time she only got to practise very simple. CSWE I. Lucia. Q2 Int: R: Int: R: Li Ming: Okay yep yep. no. There’s some situation that I have to talk to people. Gilberto. C08. so it did not offer her much opportunity to extend her use of English. She commented that she felt like a robot. Hhhhmm. ask the questions. CSWE I. CSWE III. C01. Participants often found social talk with customers. C07. CSWE I Irene worked in a laundry factory. However. C05. CSWE II Lily worked at a bakery shop and also expected that she would be able to improve her English as she interacted with customers. She found the cafe work very tiring and her interactions with customers very brief and repetitive. Although she initially expected that she would be able to practise and improve her English at work. She said in Q2 that she could not always understand her customers when they chatted at work. One participant. called this ‘chatting talk’. During Q3 and Q4 he worked as a kitchen hand in an aged care facility. have people. Gilberto. Initially when I first started to talk to the customer I really don’t know how to Right. she soon discovered disadvantages to an inspector’s role and became disenchanted. It it yeah I absolutely agree with you.helped to improve their confidence. Q3 Dan: So the job ga– gave me like confidence because I HAVE to speak with people I – I’m not like sitting at home or with my friend that understand my same language … Mhm. ah many peoples ask me more better. C09.

C02) and. were not conducive to talk. Some participants found jobs in workplaces run by migrants with the same L1. CSWE II participants who were working and studying in the AMEP part-time in Perth (Centre 12) made particular mention of this. Did you also start to be able to have conversations with the customers about their family. who worked in a local hardware store. so that English was not required. Mary was able to practise her English in a takeaway food shop where she worked and Ann found it very helpful when her supervisor in the mushroom farm where she worked accommodated her level of English and spoke slowly. Hong. They mentioned topics they had covered across the macro skills that they had found useful for employment. A couple of participants at this level explicitly requested topics relating to the workplace and how to network with professionals. others found the ‘Work It Out’ program. you know. In particular. one participant mentioned engaging in a ‘job expo excursion’ (Sherry. mostly at CSWE III. Tat. a participant who worked in a massage parlour was told explicitly not to talk to customers as they had come to relax rather than to chatter. found that regular contact with clients improved her English. took active steps to create opportunities for increased interaction in English in their workplaces by seeking out English-speaking colleagues during breaks. and volunteering in environments where they could use their skills and engage with others through English. Some participants. particularly at lower CSWE levels. Some CSWE II participants commented that lessons on ‘résumé writing’ and ‘cover letters’ were very helpful for them and they were interested in Australian workplaces. deliberately changing their jobs in pursuit of more interactive workplaces. about their life.2 Comment on the relevance of the AMEP Participants at CSWE I mentioned ‘different vocational languages’ as being helpful for use in the workplace. CSWE III participants were generally more articulate in outlining the topics they had found relevant in the AMEP and in drawing the connection between these topics and their interactions in the workplace. as noted in Chapter 2.Int: Li Ming: R: Int: Int: So every day accumulate a little. writing 36 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . as discussed in more detail in the next chapter. Even where there was no such prohibition. Susan. The following lesson topics taken up in class were also mentioned as useful: • • reading job seeking – – • – – finding a job – job websites addressing selection criteria résumé and covering letter job applications. and others found that interaction in any form was kept to a minimum. very useful as these gave them information that was relevant to employment (such as Pita. Many participants. who worked as beautician in a salon and then opened her own beauty business. Some of them spoke of the need to study English formally again in school if they were to improve their job prospects. Cho and Sirinan in C10). For example. social conversations? [L1 exchange] Yeah sometimes they tell me but just that I don’t understand. such as a kitchen or a production line. some workplaces. which was part of their AMEP experience. However. and employees in the spectacles factory where Anna (see Chapter 2) worked had been explicitly told by their boss not to talk at work. In some cases talk was actively discouraged. Every day yeah … Okay. 3. realised through their work experiences that the workplace was not going to provide the opportunities needed to improve their English. and there was a general feeling that an improvement in their English would lead to securing work. found that her workplace in Perth allowed her to improve her English as she joked with her co-workers and answered customers’ questions.5. Other participants found that workplaces did help to foster further English-language learning.

is very challenging for any newcomer. while they expressed interest in a range of specific workplace language.6 Summary and implications The patterns of language use described in this chapter have illustrated the areas in which the participants used English in the community. it would seem more reasonable to focus on general rather than specialised workplace language. Social English is a problematic area in which low-level learners are at a real disadvantage. The data show that many participants had quite limited exposure in this domain except with other learners. socially and at work. • Overall. Both of these areas are potentially crucial for their self-esteem and identity and thus their psychological wellbeing. Starting and maintaining a social interaction. work experience programs adjusting to the workplace English for specific occupations other than medical English for medical purposes English for Nursing Council qualification exam. • • • Chapter 3 Use of English for Everyday Life 37 . without the opportunity to participate in and therefore practise social interaction. These include the role of partners and other family members in assisting in both the development of an migrant’s English-language skills and the maintenance of their L1. Language related to vocations and the workplace seems to be of more interest to learners at higher levels of CSWE as their confidence in English increases. the kinds of community interactions that participants engaged in were similar across all migrant groups and related to settlement issues and routines. For language learners. suggesting the importance of early intervention in not only the development of social language. significant gains in speaking skills are unlikely. the AMEP can play a crucial role in helping to develop and maintain social contact among newly arrived migrants. even if willing interlocutors can be found. many of these seem to be catered for in the curriculum and delivery in the AMEP. Some of the topics that participants requested include the following: 3. As far as language use in the family is concerned.Other workplace-related topics covered in class that they found useful include the following. as well as outside. As discussed in the following chapters. the analysis has highlighted some issues that may impact on settlement success in the longer term and which could be usefully addressed early in settlement. As discussed in the following chapter. in the family. However. Developing skills in the social domain is important at work. it is a major issue. As discussed further in Chapter 5. but also the development of social networks. • • • • • • • • • • • • • how to get a job in Australia English for hospitality and related professions classes to do with the workplace Australia’s employment system how to communicate in the workplace getting to know the Australian workplace how to behave in the Australian workplace general mention of ‘Work It Out’ program.

38 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP 39 .

40 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

particularly her speaking. he had not been as active as he would have liked because he felt he lacked the English proficiency to talk to his children’s teachers. A significant number of participants (particularly at CSWE I level) attributed the progress they felt they had made to the fact that AMEP was the only place in their lives where they could speak and practise their English with other people. as she could now conduct everyday activities on her own.4 participants’ perceptions of their experiences in the program are discussed. New South Wales. New South Wales. Although strong L1 networks (for example. is a complex matter. In Sections 4. By Q2 she had started noticing that her English.3 and 4. as in the case of Hogan. He had to put his three young children in day-care and schools as soon as he arrived in Australia. although. C01. C03. Chinese. there were no discernable patterns based on gender or CSWE levels. Elisabeth. The vast majority of participants were very positive about their progress in learning English and the role of the AMEP in assisting them to use English to conduct everyday transactions that they could not do previously. as discussed in Chapter 5. often after considerable upheaval. or even in some workplaces where they had less opportunity to practise and expand their English-language skills when they finished the AMEP. greater independence. Hogan.5 examines the implications of these findings for AMEP providers.1 and 4. he reported feeling able to participate in events such as parent–teacher meetings with relative ease. Many who did not already have or deliberately seek out speaking or listening practice in English were disconnected from an English-speaking environment both during and after their AMEP studies. from China in February 2006 with his family. and understanding more in movies and popular entertainment. She spoke very little English and needed the help of interpreters for the Q1 interview.2 address the issue of progress in English-language learning and assessment in the AMEP. She was happy that she could bargain and ask for what she wanted specifically when shopping. In the first few years in Australia. was getting better. less need to prepare before an interaction. Progress was discussed in terms of increased ability in spoken English. from Vietnam in June 2008 with her family. Section 4. But after studying at CSWE II. Sections 4. She attributed this improvement to her time in the AMEP. CSWE II Hogan arrived in Parramatta. and was keen to understand more about his children’s education and how they were going at school. Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP 41 . She proudly talked of an occasion when she had gone out shopping and was able to protest that the produce that she was getting was ‘a bit small’. In leaving the AMEP they found that they had lost an important social network and opportunities to practise their English. CSWE 1 When Elisabeth arrived in Bankstown. As far as perceptions of language-learning progress are concerned. she had had very little prior English-language training despite having had 14 years of formal education. such as talking to their children’s teachers. previous learning experiences seem to have influenced learning style and therefore the level participants achieved in particular skills. 4. This section considers how participants felt about their progress and the relevance of assessment in the AMEP. and being able to talk to other parents and teachers about his children’s progress. However. whether they were at home caring for infants.Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP This chapter addresses the research questions through an examination of data on how participants engaged with English in the AMEP. a 40-year-old male participant from China. improved ability to understand Australian accents. especially by migrants who have arrived in an unfamiliar context. they also played a role in this disconnection (see Chapter 5). a number of participants reported that their use of English deteriorated following their departure from the AMEP. Other learners reported how they could now use English to speak in situations in the community.1 Perceptions of progress and the AMEP Progress in language learning. Arabic and Vietnamese) facilitated social relationships and helped participants meet their daily needs most of the time without the use of English.

To investigate if there were any trends for gender. a quantitative analysis using non-parametric statistics for group comparisons was conducted on the entire sample (n = 152). regularity and nature of assessments decided by a centre or a teacher may mean that particular groups or individuals undertake more or less assessment than others. The longitudinal nature of the study allowed researchers to explore the interview data for insight into the usefulness of particular LOs at different CSWE levels. usually towards the end of a term. in some cases because their time in the AMEP had been very brief. Given the nature of the curriculum and assessment. which are further broken down into detailed description of the skills and knowledge that learners need in order to be able to perform them successfully and against which they are assessed (Brindley 2000). No significant differences were found for any of these background variables.2.3 Table 4. On average. Moreover. Two types of data collected in the project relate to the LOs taken by the participants: samples of the assessment materials and of their performance. both the 2003 (NSW AMES 2003) and 2008 versions of CSWE learning outcomes were used for the assessment of the project participants.2 Assessment in the AMEP The competencies on which the CSWE curriculum is based consist of several sets of ‘can-do’ statements. The results of this analysis are presented below.4. together with two brief cases for each CSWE level that illustrate participants’ successful use of the skills tackled in LOs at their level.1 Pre-CSWE and CSWE I The skills tackled in the following eight LOs were singled out for comment by participants at this level in Q1: • • • • C1B2 C1C1 C1C2 C1D1 Completing a short form Understanding a short spoken transaction Participating in a short spoken transaction Understanding a spoken information text 42 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . age and education level on the number of LOs recorded as achieved. Because of the nature of the outcomes measured and the assessment process. participants were recorded as having 12–13 LOs. and the LOs recorded on the selection profile for each participant. when data collection for the project took place.1: Comparison of learning outcomes in the 2003 and 2008 curriculum Pre-CSWE* 2008 version 2003 version 21 8 CSWE I 32 14 CSWE II 35 26 CSWE III 41 32 * The official title of this level is the ‘Course in Preliminary Spoken and Written English’ in both versions. Both teachers and clients can choose which LOs are attempted. 4. Assessment relates to the achievement of Learning Outcomes (LOs) of various competencies and can occur at various stages of a course. the timing. Table 4. which are specified in more detail than in the 2003 version.1 compares the number of LOs in the 2008 and 2003 versions for each CSWE level. Analysis of the outcomes recorded as achieved in the AMEP shows that. and achievement may not be possible for a variety of reasons. this is not surprising. Since the curriculum is designed to provide a national framework for the delivery and assessment of a language program relevant to the settlement needs of a wide variety of clients. it is important for assessment tasks to have face validity for learners and address areas of relevance in this period of their lives. some had no LOs recorded as achieved. however. For example. As the fifth edition of the Certificates I–IV in Spoken and Written English (NSW AMES 2008) was published in 2008. the achievement of LOs should not be seen as the only measure of language learning. Researchers were able to relate the LOs for particular levels with comments made by participants at a later date on what kinds of activities they undertook in English and how their competence in different areas had changed over the course of the study. or they may be absent at the time of the assessment. while there were participants who achieved as many as 31 LOs. a client may arrive in the class just before the assessment without having had the related language instruction and practice. The 2008 edition of the CSWE curriculum includes a larger number of LOs.

do you have to do it often? No often. C11. oh okay. At the age of 22. You understand what they wanted. James. he attended a Bible college. by yourself. You understood what you were writing? Yeah. CSWE I Tina was a female of 26 years of age from Vietnam. Tina. Q4 R: Int: James: Int: R: […. Just one off. yes I understand. C11. one at the beginning maybe. pre-CSWE James was 38 years of age from Burma. During his time in the camp. he fled from Burma to a large refugee camp in Thailand. Of course. Oh. That I had to fill in. where he spent 16 years before he and his family were granted entry to Australia. By Q4 she said that she was able to fill in some forms by herself. and after nine years of schooling he worked on his family farm. Oh. James. Not often. His father was a pastor at a Baptist church. okay. CSWE I. it is not possible to determine exactly how or where they actually mastered these skills. Could you understand everything? I do think. Q4 R: Tina: Int: Tina: Int: R: Tina: R: Int: R: Tina: R: Tina: R: Tina: R: Tina: What type of stuff do you have to fill up at work? [L1 long exchange] There are some employment form Yeah. where the skills covered in the AMEP curriculum were relevant.• • • • C1D2 C1J1 C1F02 Understanding a written information text Understanding a spoken recount Reading a short information text C2LSB1 Understanding casual conversation. Okay.] So what can you do now that you couldn’t do then? [L1 exchange] [L1 exchange] For uhm English lang– Yeah using English language. By Q4 he was working in a poultry factory. Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP 43 . by yourself? Yeah. since language learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom. is that on a regular basis or just one off. Tina. C03. So but did someone help you to fill it out or no? No. C03. The cases of Tina and James illustrate how they found the skills covered in C1B2: ‘Completing a short form’ useful. pre-CSWE. She was a nail artist and dressmaker in her country but was working as a factory worker in Q3 and Q4.

Okay and you can. okay. but boss say can say hello can I help you love. [L1 exchange] Well. Now I can oh c– help customer came I can say hello can I help you. leave form. Okay. In Q3 she said she was able to participate in interactions covered by the LO C2A03: ‘Negotiating a spoken transaction for goods/ services’ (2003 curriculum). Q3 Susan: R: Susan: R: Susan: R: Susan: No next next week I can answer phone. CSWE II Susan is a female of 34 years of age from Thailand where she worked in various service roles.2. Yeah. yeah. Do you have to write? Sick leave. Okay. sick leave form. 4. Leave form when Yeah. C12. So your English has got better in that respect? Uhm yeah and more more better and ah for money too. okay. from the customers? Yeah in the machine for EFTPOS for people use card yeah? 44 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . So. no problem. Susan.2 CSWE II The following four LOs were singled out for comment by participants at this level in Q1: • • • • C2A03 C2F02 C2G01 C2RWJ2 Negotiating a spoken transaction for goods/services Participating in short interaction involving explanation Reading an informal letter Writing an informal text. yeah. you can do and then you can fill in the book? Yes. CSWE II. Just only fill the form. you want to take a holiday? Yeah. In Australia she works in a beauty shop for three days a week. Now I can take money. all the application form and leave. Susan. holiday. The cases of Susan and Vinny illustrate how they found some of these useful.R: Int: James: R: James: Int: R: Int: R: Int: James: R: Int: R: Int: R: What kinds of forms do you have to fill in for work? [L1 exchange] In the workplace? In the workplace? In the workplace. including as a housekeeper in a hotel. C12. Right. Oh.

3 CSWE III Comments about 15 LOs were identified in the excerpts from interviews with participants at CSWE III level in Q1: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • C3A02 C3A3 C3B01 C3B02 C3LSB2 C3B03 C3LSC1 C3LSC2 C3D01 C3LSE1 C3LSE2 C3G02 C3RSH1 C3RSI2 C3K01 Giving a short explanation Capacity for independent learning Reading a procedural text Writing an informal letter Participating in a casual conversation with topic changes Writing a formal letter Understanding a complex spoken exchange Negotiating a complex spoken exchange Understanding spoken instruction Understanding a spoken information text Delivering a short spoken presentation Giving an oral presentation Understanding a complex written text Understanding news articles Reading newspaper articles. C01. where she worked as an instructor at a T-shirt design school. R: Vinny: R: Vinny: However. Okay. In Australia she wanted to have a job related to customer relations or human resources. coverage of a competency does not necessarily imply mastery at all levels and on all occasions. In Q1 she was in a pre-CSWE class in Perth. Admin work. and participants also mentioned difficulties they experienced in undertaking some of the functions covered in the curriculum. In Q4 she was working at a chicken butcher’s. She worked at a restaurant and then later at a beauty salon. Vinny. Q4 Vinny: Ah I – I had recently in my interview with doctor ahm and I – I was very worried about ah how can I understand their – ah her – ah his slang because hm and he was ah very old. preparing food. Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP 45 . So do you know yet if you got the job? Actually ah it’s ah hm two to three weeks waiting. And he ask me seven to – six to seven questions and after finish my interview ah I got good feedback from him. In Q4 she related an experience of a job interview in which she made use of skills covered in C2F02: ‘Participating in short interaction involving explanation’. C01. Ping.Vinny.2. CSWE II Ping is a female of 34 years of age from Thailand. 4. C12. CSWE II. CSWE II Twenty-five-year-old Vinny is from India. What was the interview for? Uhm admin. Ahm when I went there and hm when – and start my interview with him ah ahm he ask me six to – [knock on the door] six to ten questions. as the case of Ping illustrates. as might be expected. where she worked as a teacher. and reported still needing the assistance of a co-worker in order to complete the ordering processes she needed to do for her job (C2A03: ‘Negotiating a spoken transaction for goods/services’).

In Q2 she talked about reading texts related to her profession (C3RSH1: ‘Understanding a complex written text’). I can … support the whole one hour show by myself. Yeah. Generally. We’re doing a show and that has improved my English really because. R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu: Karen. the first time I speak or the first interview I did on H radio. Participants from higher CSWE levels. yes it was good but not much. Are a bit afraid to do it and [laughter] I saw that this an opportunity for me to develop my English also my skills to research on topics. landscape design.3 What participants found useful In line with the findings of the National Client Satisfaction Survey (DIAC 2008). 25 years of age. I passed – I – I did a – another interview on ABC which was also good but not sure but now. technical or artistic? Some – some like something like urban design. particularly when he wanted to look into options for joining the armed forces. Q2 Karen: R: Karen: R: Karen: And I read some – some professional book. when I speak. C10. A number of participants also appreciated the 46 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . Something like that. Fantastic. CSWE III Karen (see case discussed in Chapter 2). CSWE III. CSWE III Nfumu. where she worked as a landscape designer. So in the association. Nfumu. we had the opportunity to – to get a show – one hour show per week. For example. Q3 Nfumu: R: Nfumu: Since last December. came from the Democratic Republic of Congo and had lived in Benin for several years before coming to Australia. the garden and some newspaper. Nfumu. a 35-year-old male participant from Saudi Arabia. Participants appreciated being able to attend classes without paying fees and having access to related services that helped them learn English and settle in Australia. in particular. Yes. 21 years of age. including the career counselling he felt he needed. Alex. CSWE III. Right. C09. good. So they put a journalist with me and every Saturday we’re going there [laughter] from three o’clock to four. people Yeah. on H radio. also reported liking learning about employment and workplace cultures in Australia. an overwhelming majority of the 152 participants across the different CSWE levels expressed great satisfaction with and gratitude for the AMEP. She got a job as a landscape designer and was working at a leading design firm in Q2. Alex was often quite emotional when talking about how much the AMEP has helped not just his English but also his settlement process. C10. Yep and – and what are those professional books? …What are they. I say I’m I’m going to do it but you have to put someone with me because [laughter] I don’t know how to do it by myself.The two cases below illustrate how participants at this level have made use of these skills. The Australian newspaper some home idea. In Q3 he talked about his experience on a radio show (C3LSE2: ‘Delivering a short spoken presentation’). participants reported finding the opportunities for language learning and for learning about Australian culture and aspects of life in Australia very useful. In the quarterly interviews. Karen. and I volunteer. came from China. expressed his surprise at the range of AMEP services available for migrants and refugees such as himself. Brilliant. 4. C09. knowledge they felt that they would not have had the opportunity to learn otherwise.

5%) 2 (9%) 1 (4. email etc small talk (appropriate topics for conversation).5%) 0 III (5 centres: 73 participants) 7 (9. taxes. participants.8%) 0 0 2 (3. The table shows the number of participants from each CSWE level who said that they found the particular topics to be useful. followed by the percentage figures in brackets.6%) 5 (7%) 0 24 (33%) 2 (3%) 1 (1.5%) 0 1 (4. In the interviews participants were asked about their impressions and views of the AMEP. appropriate levels of formality) how to use computers.1 Topics Participants commented positively. conversation skills advice on how to relate socially to Australians ‘practical’ everyday topics such as banking.8%) 0 25 (44%) 0 1 (1. Table 4. shopping writing letters academic skills such as presentations. particularly those from lower CSWE levels. 4.5%) 1 (4. paying bills. about learning in the following areas: • • • • • • • • • • • • Australian slang Australian accent (pronunciation) understanding other migrants’ accents (and backgrounds) Australian culture and practices. These trends are discussed further below.3. Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP 47 . cultural heritage and multiculturalism. Australian history.3%) 14 (19%) As can be seen in Table 4. which includes learning about social norms.6%) 1 (1. but they varied in the extent to which they were able to give detailed responses.5%) CSWE level II (2 centres: 22 participants) 11 (50%) 0 1 (4. Table 4.2: Themes and topics participants found to be most useful in the AMEP Themes and topics Pre–I (4 centres: 57 participants) English for everyday purposes Australian English (eg slang.opportunity to develop new skills such as formal writing or computing skills that they found to be useful. found topics related to English for everyday purposes to be very useful. especially for job seeking. The AMEP also provided many with the opportunity to meet other AMEP learners who became lasting friends. and it was evident that their participation in multicultural classrooms had helped them to learn about different cultures and cross-cultural interaction.2. One noticeable trend is that participants at CSWE III level more often reported that learning about Australian workplaces and workplace culture was useful for their daily lives.2 summarises some of the themes and topics that participants mentioned in their interviews as especially useful. idioms) Government services Australian culture and cultural practices (including citizenship) Specific topics that address particular occupational needs Computing classes Friends made through the AMEP Post-AMEP studies Workplace and working culture 23 (40%) 1 (1. in particular. history etc government and other services that were available pragmatics (eg how to talk to people. It is also clear that participants at all levels appreciated learning about Australian culture and cultural practices.3%) 7 (9. business.

Yes.2 Language for everyday transactions Comments by participants at lower CSWE levels clearly signalled their enthusiasm for topics related to everyday life. when I’m – Yeah. with the doctor. She also felt quite lonely and isolated because of her lack of mobility and independence. You think that you can speak English? Yeah I can ahh buy something myself. John. Good for you. C01. Good. Yeah. Or in English? Does it – Or the doc – or the doctor? Yeah. CSWE II. as in the case of Nhung. Uhmhm 48 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . particularly when speaking to Anglo-Australians on their own. Improving. CSWE I. This developing sense of independence was evident among female participants at lower CSWE levels who said that what they had learned helped them to undertake activities such as shopping independently without their husbands. as reported by John. New South Wales. Nhung reported feeling much more confident about her English and having much greater independence in her daily life. C01. yes. Yeah. Nhung. C07. Nhung.3. Make appointment for the doctor and when I’m maybe make appointment in the – in the Centrelink. Q4 R: John: R: John: R: John: Int: John: Int: R: John: R: John: R: And how about listening? You said you can – As – Make a phone call. making and changing appointments. [laughter] More and more. with her Australian husband.4. Centrelink or – Or in Yes. which meant that she became heavily dependent on her husband when doing daily activities such as shopping. By your– I can ahh go everywhere myself. As she studied at CSWE II level. You feel good now. and although some still lacked confidence by Q4. How do you feel now? Ahh I think I feel good now. she began developing the courage to go out on her own and do activities such as shopping without her husband. as her English got progressively better in the AMEP. They liked using English skills taught in class as they became able to do everyday tasks like shopping. by later stages of the data collection most felt the benefit of this early instruction and reported much greater mobility as their English-speaking abilities improved. and going to the bank. However. Q1 R: Nhung: R: Nhung: R: Nhung: R: Nhung: R: Your English is improving. CSWE II Nhung arrived from Vietnam in December 2007 and settled in Parramatta. Nhung did not feel confident enough to go out on her own and interact in English. you can listen? Yeah. Before she enrolled in the AMEP.

Nhung: R: Nhung: R: Nhung:

By train. By ahh by train. Uhmhm So I don’t need husband beside me. [laughter] Oh. That’s good. I can alone.

This increased mobility and confidence gave participants more courage to tackle situations in English, which in turn heightened their awareness of the kinds of possibilities and options available to them in Australia. In many cases, the ability to communicate in English also decreased their sense of isolation, motivating them to learn more English (particularly spoken skills).

4.3.3 Australian culture and cultural practices
As indicated in Table 4.2, a large number of participants across all CSWE levels found the insights they gained on aspects of life in Australia from their AMEP teachers very useful. These included language-related aspects such as Australian English pronunciation and slang, and other aspects of life in Australia. Jude, for example, particularly liked learning about Australian slang, while Nfumu and Alina found class excursions to be useful in helping them orient to their new Australian environment, rules and regulations.

Jude, C02, CSWE II, Q4
Jude: R: Jude: R: Jude: […] Jude: R: Jude: R: Jude: This is very important in Australia … most of people using the Aus– Australian when they speak they are Slang. Slang. The idiom, yeah. Yep that’s correct. They had a subject ahh one of the subject about slang words. Oh, did they? Aussie slang words. Yeah yeah. So I learned little bit there.

Nfumu, C10, CSWE III, Q4
R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu: R: Great mm-hm. Uhm, have you – have the classes helped you to settle into the Australian community? Yes yes. In what ways? Yes with some informations. Mm-hm mm-hm. Mm on my four – my first four weeks at TAFE. Yeah. I was there to other building. Okay. So they – they went out with us showing us the city. Yeah.
Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP


Nfumu: R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu:

And things. So even here when I came they will present you some information. Yeah. That you really need. Okay. For your settlement.

Alina, C10, CSWE III, Q2
R: Alina: R: Alina: And like the excursion today was interesting. Yes of course. I mean – mm – hm. Because this kind of excursion ah – or my case because I join short courses, ah and I visit ah … political system in Australia and um, um, um this – High Court of – Okay, that’s a course about the system of government in Australia? Yes, yes. Okay. And we – we was visit it. Okay, right, that’s good. So the more institution, like Aurora, and its good connection with the system here. Eah, okay. So we – we learn lots of thing about the – the country where we live. And that’s important to know. It’s very important.

R: Alina: R: Alina: R: Alina: R: Alina: R: Alina:

The case of Marina illustrates the very concrete benefits for her family of coverage in her AMEP class of the Australian legal system.
Marina, C03, CSWE I Marina arrived in Sydney from Lebanon in April 2008. Like many other participants, when she first arrived in Australia Marina had very little knowledge about Australian laws and the legal system and was worried about rules that she did not know about, such as Australian traffic laws. Through the AMEP, she learned about some of these, including basic information about how to deal with the police, and the legal procedures necessary to resolve civil matters such as traffic fines. This information proved to be handy when her husband lost his licence. With her knowledge, she was able to help her husband in his dealings with the police and the court, and even explain to them that she would be driving her husband to and from work because she had an international driver’s licence. She attributed learning this valuable information to her classes in the AMEP.

A large number of participants noted that they felt that the AMEP was their primary or only source of information about Australian culture, government and society.


Language training and settlement success: Are they related?

4.3.4 Employment and the workplace
As can be seen in Table 4.2, participants (particularly at higher CSWE levels) reported liking topics related to the workplace, such as finding a job and writing résumés. Many participants were looking for or planning their pathways towards employment or improving on their current job (see Chapter 2). Participants, such as Bianca, therefore found learning about formal writing (such as how to write a CV or covering letter) particularly useful:

Bianca, C02, CSWE III, Q2
Bianca: Oh it’s very useful helpful because actually like ah this term all what we did is very important you know. Like ah written making résumé you know. First time I was thinking, what’s this? But it’s like ah this covering letter you know how to give a talk all those things it was very difficult for me before but now I think it’s very interesting and helpful you know yeah. Yeah.

Participants also mentioned that they found it useful to learn about appropriate language use in workplace situations with different types of people (eg bosses, customers, colleagues, casual conversations), as many felt they did not yet have the confidence to strike up conversations with Anglo-Australians in the workplace. A few participants commented on learning about important occupational health and safety information through their classes at AMEP. They also mentioned how they had benefited from topics related to the Australian workplace, as in the cases of Chloe and Sirinan.

Chloe, C06, CSWE III, Q3
R: Chloe: R: Chloe: R: Chloe: R: Chloe: All right then. And so do you think that your time in the – in the AMEP was a valuable experience for you? Yes I think so. If I didn’t really have ah like the AMEP course I think I wouldn’t even think about the looking for a job outside. Right. Yeah. Yes, so it got to you to that point. Yeah. That’s very good. Yes and feel more confident yeah.

Sirinan, C10, CSWE III, Q3
Sirinan: R: Sirinan: R: Sirinan: R: Sirinan: R: Sirinan: R: Sirinan: More – and like um right now they have work experience. Um that – that thing have um, so, that – that one – one thing very, very good for experience Okay. Yeah did – you did work experience? I did, yeah. Where did you do it? Like when or where? Where? Where? Or sorry – at a post, sorting centre, yeah. Okay, right. The, post I was there And was that good? It was good, yeah because in the – um it’s very, um in the Australian and, you learn – ah I mean, I learn a lot about, how they work, how they – how they, mm behaving in the workplace – mm for yeah Yeah, okay. Yeah, good. [laughter] Yeah.
Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP

R: Sirinan:


as they often felt left out and could not keep up with the conversations around them and so felt disheartened and friendless.5 Making lasting friendships In addition to the English they learned. R: Rose: R: Alex. yeah. they provided a less threatening source of English-language practice than native speakers. many participants. including learning about useful websites. Rose. it was difficult for most participants to speak at any length with native speakers of English. all the different – all the different nationalities and cultures? Yeah. all – all people from everywhere. overall they gave me the – the feeling of it’s really important. Ahm. France. Q3 Alex: Yeah. As discussed elsewhere. I’ve. all of them are very nice and and how – how is the. sure. So the. gives you – Okay. they gave participants a peer group whose members were experiencing some of the same life changes associated with leaving one country behind and learning to live in another. So. I found people from ev– everywhere people from Japan. As the interview excerpts from Rose and Alex illustrate. like Tomoko. C06. having new friends from various cultures and backgrounds has helped them to have a positive experience of multicultural Australia. Other LOs from the AMEP that participants valued included computer and internet skills. Everyone have to give his – his best to – to get that aim. Yeah. First. They were also often a useful source of information and useful contacts. one of the important things is all of the people you’re mixing with in – in that setting? In the class setting.4. many participants said that one of the most valuable aspects of their AMEP experience was meeting new and lasting friends. Even those whose partners were native speakers and who therefore had potentially a ready-made network of English native-speaking friends found that the social engagements they had at the AMEP were an invaluable source of friendship and language practice. Australians culture. anywhere in the world so. Q3 R: Rose: And. then. but them they. CSWE III. so in general. is there anything in addition to language that you gained from the AMEP? Yeah. Israel. you can hear from him and from her so – Yeah. R: Alex: R: Alex: R: Alex: These contacts were important on a number of levels. with all the associated upheavals and challenges. uhm I’ve got new friends from different cultures. did not have the chance to meet people outside their immediate L1 networks. appreciated being able to learn about and discuss current affairs.3. Some. C09. After all that you – you feel like you are very rich of more culture round you. especially those at lower CSWE levels. the precious feeling when you get all these cultures around you. Due to their limited English. 52 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . ahm Italy. you. CSWE III. I have no experience about the Australian cultures if I stay at home I will – I will never never get any information about Right. they came here to join the each other and to look forward for the future and for ahm – for happy and prosperous future for this country. like they all. Because these new friends were also English-language learners. Good good.

In comparison. This was the case even in the pre-CSWE level. writing lists to classify and categorise information. But I can see I see I understand very but speaking I no understand. At the beginning of the project. They may be familiar with literacy-based learning activities. sometimes we can’t understand one hundred per cent. Kim 2009). Typical learner profiles and successful approaches to literacy instruction for these learners have been well documented in AMEP research (Hood 1990. C11. 4. in Australia just now because the teachers use newspaper and magazine. listening. Lisa. the participants in this project at all CSWE levels had relatively high rates of education. we can use the um topics in classroom.4 Developing literacy In this section we take a closer look at issues related to the development of participants’ reading and writing skills (literacy). okay. so – Yeah. Nichols and Sangster 1996. and using dictionaries. as she entered the program with English literacy skills. She has had 15 years of schooling. Trevino and Davids 2001. we can understand more and more. Q3 Lisa: R: Lisa: R: Lisa: R: Lisa: Int: Lisa: R: Yes. pre-CSWE. Yes. Um so what ways have your English classes. Okay. Yes because I my son my son’s childcare ahh sometimes [L1 exchange] Letter. Kim 2009). C10. Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP 53 . from recently Okay.1 Educational background and learning experiences Research in second-language learning suggests that years of education are a predictor of achievement of literacy in English (Ross 1998. where six of the 12 participants had 8–12 years of education. Lisa. thesauruses and guides to language use. three had less than seven years. But ah if we – we watch TV or trying to read newspaper. You don’t understand so if it’s written you can read it. ah we. using written sources to locate information. pre-CSWE Lisa is a 33-year-old female with small children who is from China. yeah. Clearly. R: Tomoko: R: 4. although she believed her reading skills to be better than her listening skills. okay. McPherson 1997. and only two had less than three years. This means that they are likely to be able to transfer an understanding of the literacies they have used in general education to their English-language learning. Q3 R: Tomoko: Yeah. Learners with a minimum of five years of education are deemed to have basic literacy in their language and therefore to be familiar with the roles and functions of literacy in their communities and in learning. And you understand but sometimes. such as identifying information in written texts. she did not fit the usual profile for a learner at pre-CSWE level. who are not literate in their first language or are highly literate in languages that do not use the Roman alphabet may find the development of English literacy more challenging. Lisa was in a pre-CSWE class. but if. Is your reading good? Yeah. your AMEP classes. I can see understand. make letter yes.Tomoko. those whose primary language does not have a written form. including three at tertiary level. in which she studied English as a foreign language. You understand the letters you get from childcare. 2008. C11. reading and writing skills. CSWE III. By the end of the project she was in CSWE II level and had achieved 13 LOs for speaking. As reported in Chapter 1.4. helped you to settle into Australia? Um – It’s helpful for me because um I could understand the – about the culture and history and then what happen.

Thus. When asked about language use outside class. financial Newspaper sites (global) Digital communication Email Chat Social networking Blogs Workplace data entry Financial transaction Comparison with AMEP curriculum documents (NSW AMES 2008) reveals that these text types are readily represented in AMEP programs. When talking about their literacy skills. reading and writing print. the participants mentioned a range of literacy encounters.4. while general information.3 and organised according to whether they related to prose or other printed or electronic texts. some learners who reported having mastered the vocabulary and formats of Centrelink forms found that forms in other contexts were designed differently and used different language. and these are summarised in Table 4. is a feature of forms in a variety of contexts. the varied formats. and any specific difficulties they encountered with their reading and writing.4. for example. novels Children’s books Non-fiction Autobiographies Religious texts Professional books Transactional letters Websites Baby care information Professional interest Job advertisements and applications Health information Trading Banking. superannuation etc Prose Literary texts. the literacy-based tasks they used for language learning inside and outside class. as shown in Table 4.4. such as personal identification and personal histories.2 Beliefs about current English literacy skills Interviews with participants were examined for their beliefs about their current English literacy skills and their perception of further literacy development needs. Table 4. 54 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . they include form-filling. reading and writing narratives.3: Forms of literacy encountered by project participants Documents Forms (variety of contexts) Financial contracts and applications Insurance/business/legal documents Utility invoices and accounts Bank statements Medical/ethical clearance Taxation. For example. However. purposes and lexis used in these text types in different contexts represented a challenge for learners. and digital information texts and communications. participants mentioned the reading and writing that they were able to do outside the class.

Table 4.4: Text types in the AMEP curriculum
Text type Pre-CSWE Write formal letters Read/write reports Complete formatted texts Read/write narratives Read newspaper articles Read/write informal texts Read/write recounts Read/write procedural texts K2 A1 I2 F2 B2 L1 D2 J1, J2 H2, K2 I2 H2 L1, L2 H1 K1 Learning outcomes CSWE I CSWE II CSWE III L1, Q2 M1, M2 H1, H2, L2, Q1 K2, N1, N2 I1, I2, I3, J1

Note: Numbers and letters refer to particular learning outcomes in the curriculum. Source: NSW AMES 2008.

There seemed to be little general awareness among participants of the specific literacy skills that might be needed for particular domains of life. Some participants reported that their classroom learning focused on the literacy practices and texts required for job seeking (for example, reading job vacancy websites and newspaper adverts, filling in forms, and writing job applications and résumés). Fewer participants explicitly mentioned a need to learn the specific literacy skills of their current or future workplaces or vocational training. Similarly, while a small number reported receiving written texts from government or community agencies or groups, they did not report a need to learn how to read and respond to such communications. When asked how they dealt with these communications, the most frequent response was that they asked a friend or relative to interpret the communication and suggest an appropriate response; while others said they simply ignored the communication. One participant reflected that he may have missed a lot of important medical appointments because he was unaware of the need to respond to such letters.

4.4.3 Literacy development
As shown in the summary below, some participants specifically commented on the gains they had made in literacy and attributed these to their AMEP classes. Overall, they felt that as their social literacy skills improved, they were able to participate more independently in the community and to be less reliant on family and friends. The following examples were cited by participants at all levels to demonstrate their perceived improvement in social literacy skills.
Literacy skill Can independently complete familiar forms that request personal identification, eg at Centrelink, at hospital and medical clinics, for job applications. Can independently complete forms requesting personal history, eg study course applications, employment history, résumés and CVs. Can identify essential information in household accounts, eg payment date, amount due, contact telephone numbers. No. of participants who commented 6 9 1

Cont ...

Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP


... Cont
Literacy skill Can extract meaning from short (one to two paragraphs) written newspaper articles on familiar topics. Can write and read short emails, postcards or messages to friends and families on familiar topics. Can conduct internet searches for information. Can locate information on websites. Can conduct financial transactions on the internet. No. of participants who commented 8 7 3 3 1

Some participants explicitly reported improvements in their academic literacy as a result of their AMEP classes, and several felt that these were transferable to other learning contexts, such as vocational training and tertiary education. The academic literacies most reported were: • • • • • researching information on the internet or printed texts reading and interpreting information in graphs and charts reports narratives descriptions.

The participants reported using various strategies when faced with complex written texts, including calling on family or friends to assist, attempting to read the texts with the use of a dictionary before seeking assistance, and visiting the authoring agency with an interpreter for an explanation. Beginner learners were more likely to ask others to explain and respond to written texts on their behalf. None reported any discomfort with this arrangement. Learners at CSWE II and III levels were more likely to attempt to comprehend texts with the use of dictionaries or other aids, but also sought assistance where necessary. As far as assessment results in literacy outcomes are concerned, no patterns of difference were evident at any CSWE level for learners who had learned English prior to arrival in Australia and those who had not. However, as discussed in Chapter 4, the rate and timing of assessments seems to be largely in the hands of teachers rather than learners. Students who are ready to undertake assessments at any point in time may have to wait until the whole class is ready, so their demonstrated rate of achievement may be slower than their actual capacity. A noticeable feature of literacy assessment tasks for the AMEP CSWE curriculum is that they are largely ‘pedagogical’ in nature. That is, they are designed for language-learning purposes and to measure skills learned in the classroom (NSW AMES 2008). This means that the format and content of assessment tasks may be some distance from real literacy texts that learners encounter in daily life. There has long been a debate about the use of ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ texts versus pedagogical texts in literacy instruction, and without reopening these arguments, there would seem to be a case for including more realistic pedagogical texts in the AMEP syllabus.


Criticisms and suggestions for improvement

Although participants were generally very positive about the usefulness of their AMEP studies, a few also had some suggestions and criticisms. However, these negative comments were very few in number and related mostly to class scheduling issues, services and facilities in the AMEP, the variety of learner competencies in classes, and the relevance of themes discussed in the program. Most critical comments about the AMEP related to the inflexibility of class schedules or the unavailability of specialised classes in their centres (eg English for medical or hospitality professions). Inflexibility of scheduling was an issue for some participants who wanted more part-time or evening classes, or had difficulty finding classes that met their work or family commitments. Others found the wide range of learning needs in their classes a problem, and noted that as a result their particular needs were not always met, as shown in comments by Nfumu.


Language training and settlement success: Are they related?

Nfumu, C10, CSWE III, Q4
Nfumu: R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu: R: Nfumu: I think the environment has to be also flexible, according to the student needs. Yes. Because if – a 65-year-old man Yeah. Is studying, this man doesn’t need to know how to write. Yeah, yeah. It’s not important for him. Yes, okay. But if maybe they put – if there is a woman ah for example they put her in a flexible environment Yes. Where she can be learning English Yes. To help. Ah – also the students, the younger one when they come … I think the English class has to – to know where they fit, yes to know where they fit in order to help them. Yeah, yeah.


There were also some complaints about classes where participants could not understand what or why something was being done. Some participants complained about different teaching styles when they changed classes. However, at the same time they often also blamed their own listening skills or laziness if they found the class too fast. Some also mentioned that they wanted more information on various areas of settlement that they were not learning in their particular classes (although they were in others), such as legal rights or interactions in a medical setting and at the bank. Participants from lower CSWE levels were much less articulate in expressing what they liked and disliked, even though interpreters were used during quarterly interviews. This could be for a number of reasons to do with their low levels of English, the length of time they had spent in the AMEP and sometimes their relative lack of experience in educational settings, as in the case of Gilberto.
Gilberto, C07, CSWE I Gilberto arrived in Australia from Brazil in April 2008 with a relatively low level of English proficiency. In the quarterly interviews, Gilberto said that he liked AMEP classes very much, although when asked which aspects of the AMEP he liked, he could not elaborate. In his Q4 interview, however, he was able to articulate some suggestions for the AMEP. He wanted more materials related to the Australian workplace and workplace culture. Although he was still unable to elaborate further (eg what kind of workplace or workplace materials), he was now able to use his improved English-language skills and longer experience in the AMEP to begin to address this question.

As an overall trend, CSWE I and II participants spoke more often about how the AMEP helped them to develop the proficiency they needed to conduct basic everyday transactions. Many of the women spoke of how they had gained the self-confidence they needed to undertake everyday activities without their husbands. CSWE III participants as a whole made much more specific comments, both positive and negative. CSWE III participants, such as Sirinan, talked about how the AMEP had helped them to understand things such as Australian culture and the social contexts of everyday language use.
Sirinan, C10, CSWE III Sirinan arrived in Hobart, Tasmania, from Thailand in June 2005. At CSWE III level, Sirinan’s English was already quite fluent and he was able to read, write and converse in English without problems. Having been in the AMEP on and off for a few years, Sirinan said in interviews that he really appreciated having the AMEP to help him improve his English to the level where he can understand social contexts and Australian current affairs. Towards the end of the data collection period in Q3 and Q4, he commented that he wanted to learn more about Australian culture and cultural practices in the AMEP, and about resources available to migrants so that they would not feel like ‘they are alone’.

Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP


a 33-year-old mother of two small children. she was starting her own marketing business from home to try to earn some extra income. as well as to the self-study they do at home. These courses are therefore able to cater for their individual learning needs more successfully. as she was beginning to understand Australian jokes and social contexts better. Even weekend classes were often difficult because they had family commitments or second jobs. At the end of data collection period. More CSWE III students were interested in finding out about professions and pathways into them. CSWE III Upon marrying her Australian-Colombian husband. female participants. it did not offer night classes. but when she was moved into a youth-specific course in Q3. Sally. as younger learners tend to gain proficiency in speaking faster than older learners. it was noticeable that many Mandarin-speaking participants showed the tendency to blame themselves when they spoke of a learning problem. For example. They were also more likely to complain of limited progress with their English – especially their speaking – and 58 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . New South Wales. CSWE III Sally arrived in Melbourne in August 2008 with her husband and toddler son. such as Sally. As far as language and cultural background is concerned. often could not attend AMEP classes because they had to look after their children at home. but her busy activities at home made it difficult for her to make the time commitment. although they liked learning in the AMEP. An example of such a case is Lila. her progress in spoken English accelerated noticeably. Her rate of progress increased noticeably once she was moved to a youth-specific English course. such as about the workplace or the legal system. Lila appeared happier because she had found some new friends at work and this gave her more confidence to converse in English. The case of Zahra highlights the importance of youth-specific courses. C09. This is particularly so in lower CSWE levels. and was unable to travel to the city to attend AMEP classes. she was not as interested in learning about language for the workplace or for social situations as she was in learning English for everyday transactions such as shopping and interacting with her children’s teachers. they often could not attend classes (particularly day classes) because of work commitments. such as English for medical purposes or hospitality. Younger participants (16–34) more often reported that they liked learning about Australia and wanted to find out about workplaces and social situations. both in their late thirties and working full-time as single income earners in their families. and quickly settled in a new housing development in Melbourne’s outer western suburbs. The 18-year-old had been in a class with older learners and was making progress. More mature learners sometimes showed a little less interest in workplaces and were more interested in language for everyday life and family situations. proportionally. However. They were more likely to want English directed to their particular vocational pathways. Sally concentrated on tending to her baby and young son. Lila appeared to be quite shy and timid at first. Lila migrated to Melbourne in February 2008. reported that. and to attribute the progress they made to their AMEP classes. so she could not attend class. In the meantime. There was little difference in comments from female and male participants. On the other hand. Alex from Saudi Arabia and Charles from Colombia. and spoke positively about work experience courses. Although she still managed to attend her AMEP classes in the city for a few months. a 24-year-old female from Colombia. as in the case of Marcia. Lila became more eager to learn about Australian cultural practices such as slang. Participants from the older age groups also commented about clashes with AMEP attendance and family responsibilities. she can go back to her AMEP classes. a 52-year-old female participant from Sri Lanka who was living in Bankstown. with her family. saying that she did not feel very happy at her previous workplace in Australia (as a biochemistry factory worker). idioms and social customs. and that she was frustrated at her lack of ability to cope with social situations in English.Sirinan’s case illustrates how participants at CSWE III were interested in learning about cultural aspects of Australian life. Zahra. She hopes that as her children grow up. C09. After her daughter was born in Q3. There were some differences for participants from different age groups. CSWE I Zahra came to Australia from in Iran in December 2007. except that. C08. Men like Alex and Charles would like to have had more flexible class schedules that could accommodate their busy work schedules. Because Marcia was a housewife. She considered completing her AMEP entitlements by distance education. Sally decided to take some time off when her second pregnancy approached full term. As her confidence grew. Lila. she reported feeling much happier. in later quarters. who now works as an office administrative assistant in Melbourne. more male participants spoke of classes clashing with work commitments. Although the local provider had a campus in a nearby suburb.

while participants from higher CSWE levels (levels II. regular reference to written material. This suggests that daily life topics seem to be particularly relevant at early CSWE levels. aversion to risk-taking. so this level is not considered in this report. Chapter 4 Engagement with English in the AMEP 59 . While the curriculum covers areas of relevance to the development of literacy in English. 4.) The language-learning tasks that participants (and their teachers) reported for many Mandarin speakers (homework. learn about life in Australia and develop many of the skills that they needed for settlement. This suggests that every effort should be made to deliver programs as flexibly as possible (ie a mixture of daytime and evening classes) to accommodate the needs of learners with different commitments. This chapter has examined the following findings on how participants engaged with English in the AMEP: • • • Notes 3 Although the CSWE curriculum include the CSWE IV level.6 Summary and implications • • The high rate of positive comments and low rate of negative comments about participants’ experiences in the AMEP suggests that overall satisfaction with the program was very high. Participants at lower CSWE levels (pre-CSWE and CSWE I) found that topics to do with conducting basic everyday transactions were most useful. while a stronger workplace/pathways focus might be appropriate at CSWE III. (See Chapter 5 for a discussion of the likely influence of prior learning experiences and the strength of L1 networks. a greater focus on authentic literacy tasks would be useful. Positive comments related broadly to the feeling that the AMEP assisted participants to progress in English. rather than the content or scope of the program. and the fact that this trend was evident in a range of educated participants with Chinese backgrounds. Generally. none of the participants in the current project were at this level at any point during the project. there seems to be a good level of fit between learner needs and the topics provided in the AMEP. perfectionism etc). III) seem to find more advanced and complex topics (such as conducting complex spoken attribute this to not working hard enough. topics to do with finding professional employment etc) more valuable. Negative comments tended to be about particular aspects of participants’ experiences. such as the scheduling of classes. suggests that this issue relates to assumptions about how languages are learned that may not be helpful in this context.

60 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

speaking skills and the role of the AMEP Chapter 5 Language Learning. Speaking Skills and the Role of the AMEP 61 .Chapter 5 Language learning.

62 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

Speaking Skills and the Role of the AMEP 63 . and 4. Once in Australia they found it difficult to apply in their daily lives what they had learned overseas. Figure 5. Raw numbers (in bold) and percentages are given.Chapter 5 Language learning. Most of the participants in the study had at least secondary school education and most had also studied English in some form. speaking skills and the role of the AMEP This chapter addresses research questions by looking at how participants’ experiences and factors outside the classroom contribute to their language learning. They often found they lacked the listening and speaking skills they needed. 20 (18%) studied English at tertiary level. the variety of English used would not have been Australian and. and the relationship of these to the role of the AMEP. English was a compulsory subject. 10. 5. some participants reported very little experience with spoken English. Figure 5. As shown in this figure.1 shows the educational setting in which the 113 participants who learned English before coming to Australia had studied. 113 (75%) reported that they had learned English through formal schooling or independent/informal study prior to their arrival in Australia. Chapter 5 Language Learning. While some participants had experience of using English in communication.9% learned English informally or independently without formal instruction. there were some disadvantages. with explanation and translation provided in their first language. for many participants English had been a subject they had learned formally at school in order to pass written exams with a focus on grammatical rules. 79 (69%) learned English as a school curriculum subject. as spoken instruction was primarily provided through their first language. For the majority. The case of 27-year-old Sari illustrates this point.1 Approaches to learning English The way in which an individual approaches learning a language can have an important impact on their progress. This often led to feelings of frustration and a strong desire for the AMEP to compensate for the proficiencies they lacked. However.4% learned through formal adult education. memorisation and repetition rather than communication. so that written texts and assignments were in English in all subjects. Of 152 participants interviewed at the beginning of the study. A small number had all of their education through the medium of English.1: Educational setting of prior English-language learning n=4 n=10 Total = 113 n=20 n=79 n n n n School University/College Informal Adult Although it might be expected that prior language-learning experiences would be helpful for learning English after arriving in Australia. and this is often greatly influenced by their prior educational and English-language learning experiences.

Hm. CSWE III Sari. [laughter] A few of the participants who had studied English overseas had some difficulty adjusting to Australian English. In her Q2 interview. India got mor– ahm they speak very ah like a – British. which restricted their ability to listen and speak. participants who were used to practising their English by completing homework worksheets or writing down sentences (for example. Hua. Sari had expected to do well in reading and writing. They settled in Blacktown. including English-language classes at primary and secondary level. Is different to India Yeah. although she most needed to improve her spoken skills. that her English-speaking and listening skills were not as good as she had anticipated. CSWE III. where she had worked as an accountant. [laughter] That’s right. including some English classes at primary and secondary 64 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . without much emphasis on speaking or listening. who practised her English by focusing on reading and writing. The 34-yearold migrant from India in the excerpt below had difficulty understanding that different varieties of English (that is. whose first language is Urdu. to her surprise. writing. CSWE I Hua arrived in Melbourne with her husband in 2007 from China.Sari. Hm hm. she attributed this lack of oracy skills to the fact that she did not practise her listening or speaking very much in Pakistan. Sanjay. New South Wales. For instance. C02. This is perhaps why researchers observed that learners often identified the same weaknesses in their English at the beginning of the data and at later stages of data collection. arrived in Australia from Pakistan in September 2007 with her husband. although they often found that they made little progress in those areas of English they most wanted to improve because they were only improving skills that they already felt comfortable with. and had thought that she would at least be able to converse in English with relative fluency as soon as she arrived in Australia. different versions of English spoken around the world) had different characteristics. Ah British English. These had focused predominantly on reading. A noticeable trend was the tendency for participants to use the language-learning strategies with which they were most familiar when approaching the learning of English and doing individual study or homework. She had problems understanding Australian English pronunciation and found that English speakers found her hard to understand. memorisation and repetition. she discovered. R: Sanjay: R: Sanjay: […] Sanjay: Now I mean – I like it – it’s easy it’s ah ah I like this English it’s very good. Some participants who had learned another variety of English felt frustrated by the difficulty they experienced understanding the colloquial Australian English. and attended AMEP classes. She had a total of 12 years of formal education. Sari had been a registered nurse with 14 years of formal education. In Pakistan. However. Yes so they a little difficult that one. This use whole proper grammar and all that speak properly yeah they don’t speak broken. That’s because we came from convicts. educated learners from Mandarin and Korean backgrounds) often felt that these were the most effective strategies for learning English. Q1 R: Sanjay: R: Sanjay: R: Sanjay: R: Sanjay: R: Sanjay: And – and the English that we speak in Australia – Yeah. C08. This point is illustrated by the case of Hua. Yeah. C02. a 34-year-old participant from China. Sari looked to the AMEP to help her improve in these areas so that she can register as a nurse in Australia.

when they did. fearful of making errors and of not being understood. in which she studied by copying texts. At home. Okay? In China. She felt that her oracy skills were not improving fast enough. We were told? To memorise hard to learn the spelling? Uhmhm. Hua did not have a large English-speaking network and hardly practised her speaking and listening outside of class. now in China! Is actually when we learn English. although she wanted to improve her listening and speaking throughout the data collection period. so can you tell me about learning English at school in China? Hm. often without real knowledge of or attention to pronunciation. There seemed to be a tendency among a sub-set of learners to focus on the written language. and tended to resort to the familiar techniques that emphasise writing. Speaking Skills and the Role of the AMEP I think you learnt English in China? [long L1 exchange] Yes. she largely practised her writing and reading skills by doing worksheet exercises. they tended to blame themselves and resolved to work harder (eg do more homework and worksheet exercises). New words would be memorised. They had difficulty recognising the sounds of spoken English. [laughter] I’ve got to memorise 50 words and then spell a lot. Some said they practised common sentences to prepare for using them in public. In the interviews. Uhmhm. Leo. Right. Since primary four. such as ‘listening to people’s conversations’. and participants often complained that no matter how hard they practised outside class. When the English-language situations they encountered in their daily lives did not match their expectations. Many of these were from China. memorisation and repetition of written language. others were more formulaic and involved reciting words. grammar and a focus on the written text (Cortazzi and Jin 1996. they still found that native English speakers could not understand them. Such activities are not usually interactive. They were particularly reluctant to speak. although they tended to do more of the same activities rather than change their approach to learning. Yates 2003). C02. Aha. her reading and writing in English were much better than her speaking and listening. and memorising words and sentences. Such learners had little concept of how to improve their oracy. even though they were particularly keen to develop their speaking skills. She recognised this discrepancy from the moment she arrived in Australia and enrolled in the AMEP. Okay. and. They reported a heavy reliance on dictionaries (including pocket-size electronic ones) that they carried everywhere. but faltered when the person they were speaking to did not respond with the phrases they expected to hear. [long L1 exchange] Okay. Q1 R: Int: R: Int: R: Int: R: Int: Leo: Int: R: Int: R: Int: R: […] R: Uhmhm? And did you practise speaking. Because of this. Say like in one week I have to learn 50 words. CSWE I. However. What you did and what you learnt? [L1 exchange] Ah yes. while her writing and reading were steadily getting better. reading. While some of these were helpful.levels. mainly speaking? Or mainly reading and writing and s– learning English at school. participants shared their experiences of trying to practise their spoken skills. they were disconcerted by the way that spoken language does not always match their expectations of well-formed grammatical language. and this memorisation formed the basis of their view of progress. memorisation and repetition. where approaches to education based on Confucian ideals may have emphasised rote learning. Chapter 5 Language Learning. Leo is an example. 65 .

C02.2 Social isolation and opportunities to practise speaking English Speaking is something that learners feel is vitally important and their ability to communicate and be understood in English is often the yardstick by which they measure their progress in English (Yates and Williams 2003). As Duff. Leo: Int: Leo: Int: When participants were asked to comment on what they thought the qualities of a good language learner were. so their exposure to spoken English is limited.Int: R: Int: R: Int: R: Leo: Int: R: Int: [long L1 exchange] We mem– we emphasis on reading and writing? Uhmhm? Uhmhm? To memorise uhm spelling? Yes. Among the many factors that contribute to the development of speaking skills are the motivations and opportunities that learners have to use and develop their skills both inside and outside the classroom. even though they all had experiences. On the difficulty of constructing sentences and memorising vocabulary: Leo. and in many cases multiple experiences. Hhhmm. Q1 Int: R: Leo: Int: Okay. difficulty 66 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . it became clear to interviewers that few participants could answer this question. CSWE I. even when this was rephrased in concrete terms about the participant’s own language learning. Wong and Early (2002) emphasise in their study of migrants on a vocational course in Canada. of language learning. After that. Thus. Hm. Okay I notice that I my major prob– my major problem in speaking is that because I I don’t know how to like link up as a some words to so that they can be a structured ahm sentence such as I go to city. either in the abstract or in concrete terms about their own language learning. [speaks in L1] I understand that I need to try harder in learning English but I will appreciate I will appreciate if you could help me with the connection of different words and vocabulary. many were not able to speak coherently on this topic. [speaks in L1] I go to city. As discussed in the following section. Hm. many participants found few opportunities to interact in English. But not in conversation. and they have only limited opportunities to practise their speaking. 5. [L1 exchange] Hm. Ahm I think learning vocabulary kind of a personal thing that I ahh understand that I need to learn and remember the vocabulary but my problem is that I don’t know how to link up those vocabulary so that I can utter uhm complete sentences. [speaks in L1] Hhhmm. And when you speak slowly do people understand? [L1 exchange] Well generally they can understand me although I have some defects in ahh grammar and I mean the order of the words and places but they can un– understand me in generally speaking. Okay. These issues are compounded when strong L1 networks mean that these learners can access services and interact socially in their first language. This suggests an inability to reflect on the nature of language learning or awareness of what might be helpful to them. Actually I speak ahh very slowly. So we just forget. Uhm the reason for me to speak slowly is is that I’m afraid that people will not understand me. Sometimes I forget how I can like connect this words so that it can be a complete sentence. And that’s why if – because we don’t use.

Elsie quickly felt less lonely and became more confident to go out on her own. so they were able to use their L1 not only in the family but also for most aspects of their daily lives. Do you think the school can help with that? Just little bit because ah in classroom we speak only the teaching time is very – Too short. Vietnamese or Arabic speakers. Uhmhm. So after we left the class – Hm. She had no family members in Australia and felt quite lonely and isolated at first. Within a few months.practising English outside the classroom is one of the major obstacles to language learning. Is it? Yes. arrived in Melbourne from Lebanon in March 2008 with her husband. C08. Chapter 5 Language Learning. it also impacted on their immediate need to learn English and the opportunities that they had to practise it. The example and the excerpt below illustrate the positives and the negatives of a strong L1 network. So you need more opportunities. This severely restricted their opportunities for improving their spoken English through social interaction with both native and non-native speakers of English. Yeah. Okay. going to church and to the hairdresser. Even participants who could not rely on having services available in their L1 did not always feel that they had the opportunity to use much English outside class. We – we will get difficult to find somebody to talking to them. Roy. She also found services. including shopping. While this mitigated the isolation and loneliness sometimes felt by those without good L1 community support in the early stages of their migration. This sense of isolation was particularly evident at lower levels. Q1 Bryan: R: Bryan: R: Bryan: R: Bryan: R: Bryan: Ahh but the difficult is that all the barriers in Australia that I found is – Hm. Elsie was reluctant to go out and conduct transactions in English for fear of making mistakes. going to the doctor. C02. that transact in Arabic. Speaking outside. Some participants reported that they did not go out much. Bryan. 39 years old. as described by the two participants in the examples below. she and her husband found an Arabic-speaking church and she quickly made friends there with whom she can speak Arabic. for many of the participants in the large metropolitan centres (in Melbourne and Sydney) there were strong L1 networks. CSWE I Elsie. perhaps only for shopping with spouses. CSWE III. Just only in classroom. Because of her L1 network. With her low level of English. Elsie. and did not have Australian friends. most of the participants reported few opportunities to speak English and many seemed to be socially isolated. As discussed in previous chapters. as has been found in previous studies (cf Perdue 1993. and providing an accessible social network. making it much easier for her to conduct daily interactions. Q1 R: Roy: R: Roy: R: Roy: R: Roy: R: Roy: R: And why do you think your speaking’s not getting better? Because ahm – I seldom speak English. C02. CSWE III. Yeah? So it’s difficult to find someone where you could practise English? Yes yes. in particular for Mandarin. Uhmhm With after arrival here. However. such as a hairdresser. Bremer et al 1996. Speaking Skills and the Role of the AMEP 67 . Norton 2000). Yeah yeah.

She was quite dependent on her family and L1 network and this affected her mobility and independence in Australia. a strong L1 network can also be a disadvantage. [speaks in L1] Okay. as far as language learning is concerned. And reading. Although her strong L1 community reduced pressure on Olga to use English. At home everybody speak Vietnamese. Yeah. Q1 Int: R: Int: R: Int: R: Because ahh the listening and ah the speaking is much harder than writing. except when she had to use English-speaking shops or the bank.However.1 Difficulty of speaking Although most participants at all levels reported that speaking in English was extremely important to them. a 28-year-old female from Egypt. Tracy. Olga. Even when she spoke in English. Because they did not need to extend their use of English when outside the home. 68 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . So. So you – yeah you – you’ll – yeah. CSWE I Olga.2. arrived in October 2008 with her family to live in Sydney. Olga admitted that she did not have many English-speaking friends and this was impacting negatively on her English-language progress. Because she mainly interacted with her family and their acquaintances. Yeah. banks and when reading signs. some participants said that they spoke Mandarin quite often in class. Yeah. Outside the class. many found it harder than they had anticipated to develop their skills in this area. her repertoire was limited to basic transactional conversation because she did not practise her spoken English outside AMEP classes. C03. CSWE I. [L1 exchange] [speaks in L1] [laughter] Yeah she go to Vietnamese shopping centre and Vietnamese doctor Many participants who had a strong L1 network only used English in a very limited way and on limited occasions. as the excerpt below illustrates. she hardly spoke English. such as in non-L1 shops. 5. it also limited her progress by reducing her need to communicate in English. Q1 Int: Int: Tracy: Int: […] R: Int: Int: Tracy: R: Int: Tracy: So you never you – you – you don’t speak English outside. In one centre where there was a large number of Mandarin-speaking students. with fewer migrants and fewer people who spoke their L1. Do you go to the doctor? What do – yes. their repertoire in English was limited when compared to participants who lived in smaller cities. Jake. Participants who were reluctant to use English themselves outside the home relied on friends and family members to communicate for them when necessary. Yeah. The participants recognised that this reliance on their L1 was holding back their progress in English. where she had regular contact with many of her husband’s family members who spoke Arabic. C07. CSWE I. C03. [L1 exchange] She doesn’t practise English yeah outside the – the classroom.

Joy. Q1 Joy: I want to speak a lot in the class but ahh – but you – sometimes you are frighten maybe your answer is not correct so you will be shy and you are not – you are not speak loud in class yeah. C01. Johnny. C01. yeah. No.Int: … Int: The – much harder in listening and ah speaking. Chapter 5 Language Learning. They also found listening and understanding spoken English challenging. CSWE II. Q2 Maryam: And ah sometimes when I think about learning English and what – I’m when I want to speak good correctly flue– fluently I scared – Oh! It’s impossible. and spoke about feeling embarrassed. Exactly because I feel like robot. CSWE III. CSWE III. Q4 John: Yeah. CSWE II. Maryam. So I’m afraid. as the following excerpts show. But on the bus. Ah he hopes that – if he’s – the English study here ah it’s better to spend more time on speaking and listening for the students yeah. Dan. C09. you know? R: Lucia: At the beginning. Uhmhm. The students speak I don’t understand. This feeling was evident at all levels. self-conscious. C05. so it’s a restricted range of things – that you can say and do and you want to expand that. Q1 Lucia: I’m just – ah feeling totally like stuck. But in the bus. Sometime when ask me ah was I don’t understand some word. ah I’m upset. many participants found speaking in English to be a frightening experience. CSWE I. C05. both inside and outside the classroom. Lucia. This sometimes led to feelings of inadequacy and loss of confidence. Speaking Skills and the Role of the AMEP 69 . Q1 Johnny: R: Johnny: R: Johnny: But because I am when I in the class I can understand what teacher says. I’m – I – I’m I’m afraid. C07. CSWE III. Like – like when I know – you know it’s like I’m feeling like I’m expressing myself always in the same way or always – Using the same words and using the same – Yes. Q1 Dan: R: Dan: I’m not joking you can find my hand was cold and I’m feel – Really? Yeah I’m panic I very very panic before. John. Hm – Okay. both inside and outside class. shy and afraid.

Young. Charles. and would resort to using written language for support. particularly where there are limited opportunities to use English in the community. as in the following example. a 46-year-old female from China. He was a copy machine repairer in Vietnam. CSWE I Charles is a married Vietnamese 27-year-old male. and of the out-of-class social interactions that others saw as valuable languagelearning opportunities. Another example is a group of Chinese-background learners at CSWE I level in one centre in a large city who had great difficulty in making progress in their spoken skills. This suggests an important role for AMEP service providers in explicitly addressing the nature of language learning and the strategies that can be used to learn and practise effectively. Chiswick and Miller 2001).Many were reticent to use English outside the classroom for fear of making mistakes and said they wanted more speaking practice in class. why don’t you speak in English very often? What makes it [laughter] [long L1 exchange] [long L1 exchange] Well ahm although ahm my heart tells me that ahh I need to speak English but sometimes I’m afraid of making mistakes and and also I’m I’m afraid of by being embarrassed when I make mistakes. These strategies may involve assisting these students to become more 70 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . which therefore offered newcomers less exposure to English than the Slavic community. Derwing. It was noticeable among the participants in this study that a combination of a strong L1 network. and reading and writing skills in class were stronger than their speaking skills. What about when you are speaking to people? What helps you to speak to people in English? [long L1 exchange] [long L1 exchange] Okay. Thus Chiswick and Miller (2001) found that migrants showed less ability in the destination language (and used it less) the larger the portion of the population who speaks their native language. CSWE I. In Q3 he is working in his uncle’s Vietnamese restaurant where the customers are mainly Vietnamese. C08.2 Low proficiency. Outside the classroom they tended to rely on these rather than taking the risk to practise their speaking. writing-focused learners in a strong L1 network Some previous studies have suggested that a strong L1 community may impact negatively on the development of target language proficiency. Hhhmm. For example. They were hesitant to move into situations where they had to speak English. whom they found to mix more with Canadian native speakers of English. as well as important social activities. Such attitudes are likely to impact on the value that learners see in the group speaking activities that were routinely organised in class to practise spoken skills. Associated with this reluctance to take risks in speaking was a tendency to dismiss as sub-standard – and therefore not good models – the spoken English of their class peers from other language backgrounds. said that she was afraid of being influenced by the incorrect pronunciations and accents of other students in the class. at least for male participants (Evans 1986. Well I seldom I seldom talk with people in English. Jeannie. and so has little reason to use English. Munro and Thomson (2007) also explained differential progress over two years between Chinese and Slavic migrants in terms of the greater cohesiveness of the Chinese community. 5. with one child (born during the project). a 40-year-old female from China at CSWE III level. C03. for example. Aha. in order to cope with a medical encounter in hospital. The kinds of attitudes described above are not likely to be helpful to language learning. Q4 R: Int: Young: Int: R: difficult? Young: Int: Young: Int: Okay.2. Irene. Thus. low proficiency and a strong reliance on written language set up conditions that did not appear to facilitate the development of spoken skills for some participants. They were generally educated. asked staff to write down what they were telling her and then went home to use her dictionary to translate what was being said to her. He has very limited involvement in the community and relies on family to assist with translation when necessary.

And made me confident in – ah in my ability. Yes. 5. C10. are there still things that you think you can improve in your English? Oh. and in some respects resembled the learners described above in her concern for grammatical correctness in her use of English. I was very worried. But now when you’re out talking to people you just talk about what you’re talking about. Ah. Once this hurdle was crossed. Alina. expand her social network and show people the person she was. So I think that’s a difference too. CSWE III. In a later interview. That’s good. there was less reluctance to practise speaking. And it’s also helped your relationship with your step-son. a 44-year-old Romanian female. when she found employment in a busy shop she realised communication rather than formal correctness was important and she overcame her reluctance to speak. R: Alina: R: Alina: R: Alina: R: Alina: R: Alina: Alina was initially hesitant in her use of English early in the project. Yes. and may increase their confidence in using spoken English. or something like that. But not only that – when you listen people you can um catch the – the – the good way to speak. Chapter 5 Language Learning. she spoke eloquently of how she ‘lost herself’ in the early stages of settlement and how at that stage she could not show people who she was because of her limitations in using English. Okay … So what is it – okay. yeah. So still I have problem with my ah syntax and ah grammatical types. and this habit is reflecting not only before in the – in the writing but is reflecting in my speaking. You. Okay. Yes. I like to – to communicate with people.3 Overcoming the fear of making mistakes There was some evidence that some participants were able to work up the confidence to be able to speak without hesitation and overcome their fear of making mistakes when speaking to native English speakers. yes. Right yeah. Right. By her Q3 interview. because I think you were more worried about that six months ago. Speaking Skills and the Role of the AMEP 71 . Q3 Alina: R: friends. and increased her self-esteem. Alina. She recounted how finding fluency enabled her to improve her communication.2. However. But also the job has opened up new things. I still have my old habits. So the both it’s working in both way. That’s good. yeah. Does that worry you very much? Um not really … no. Alina reported that she had gained in confidence and progressed in her workplace and in her ability to maintain good relationships with her English-speaking step-child at home. like you’ve made new Yes. Okay. found that her speaking improved once she worried less about making grammatical mistakes. Yeah. yes.familiar with the characteristics of spoken as opposed to written English. Alina: R: Alina: R: Alina: R: Alina: So I have – I have to communicate with people and I like. This increased confidence transferred into her family life. And you don’t worry too much. and improvements were evident.

Q1 Joy: I … I want to … I want to speak a lot in the class but ahh … but You … sometimes you are frighten maybe your answer is not correct so you will be shy and you are not. yeah. Yeah I’m panic I very very panic before. C05. when I talk with him I. Dan. Anna began realising that her pronunciation was not as good as she had thought and she realised that this was the reason why many Australians often could not properly understand what she was saying. I have more confidence and ah I can. they also become more aware of how much more they have to learn. Q4 R: Joy: R: Joy: R: Joy: Yeah. Before it’s … it was a very hard job to … to speak yeah I feel … Can’t imagine that I’m not joking you can find my hand was cold and I’m feel … Really.Other participants who were able to make contacts and use English on a daily basis also reported improvements in their language and in their confidence to use it over the period of the project. You will … I … I can’t put two word with each other and now I’m sitting comfortable and I’m talking to you without panic. it can also lead to feelings of frustration and exasperation over the thought that their English may never reach the level that they desire. I. to make a sentence and speak before in the whole year I spent here so I. Mm. because that is not how fluent speakers pronounce words. CSWE III. the more she realised what she did not know. Anna had been confident of her ability to speak in English prior to enrolling in AMEP classes. In the early stages of data collection. Joy. compared with last year. Do you talk to your uncle …? Yeah. C05. Anna expressed little concern over her oracy skills and focused her efforts a lot more towards improving her literacy skills as she was preparing herself for an IELTS test to get her optometrist qualification in Australia. CSWE III Anna arrived in Melbourne from China in May 2008 with her husband. I can express my my idea easily. I. a 39-year-old female participant from China. She was an ophthalmologist with 17 years of formal education. as you did in the past? Er yes. Because of her extensive training. As often as. 72 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . Joy. By Q4 she articulated her new understanding that pronouncing every syllable clearly was not the key to being understood. C05. Anna. and this can be demotivating. discussed in earlier chapters. An example of this issue can be seen in the case of Anna. CSWE III. before. However. I found before. you are not speak loud in class yeah. when she started pronunciation classes in Q3. CSWE III. As learners increase their knowledge and awareness of the language. The more she learned about Australian English. I was not confident and because I am not confident and I never try to. So while the sense of progress can be cause for satisfaction. R: Dan: R: Dan: Progress in English and a greater awareness of different aspects of how language is used in communication can lead to a greater awareness of the gap between what a learner knows and what they need to know. which included English-language training at both secondary and tertiary levels. C05. I can’t stay with you I’m talking about like I’m talking now. even for well-educated learners with a relatively long history of English-language learning. Q4 Dan: Yeah of course Teacher 1 and all of them Teacher 1 and Teacher 2 … all of them because they told me you are speaking good and my classmates your speaking is good how come … but before I was.

techniques or steps used to improve progress in learning. their English-speaking social networks dwindled or even disappeared completely. CSWE II.3 Use of speaking strategies Foreign. understanding and using a second language (Oxford 1990a). as they promote independence in language learning (Bialystok 1981.3. and when she left the AMEP she found that she hardly used English at all. They are tools for the active. Researchers analysed the interview data for an indication of participants’ attitudes to oral/aural skills development and the conscious or unconscious. once they had left the AMEP. C01. The findings are reported in Section 5. Oxford 1989. So I think my English gets worse than before. 1990a. For these participants. Q1 R: Maryam: R: Maryam: [laughter] How about your daughter. Many participants Chapter 5 Language Learning. R: Maryam: Such learners are obviously at risk of losing the gains they have made in the AMEP in their speaking skills. and information about local social and community services in Australia. As noted above. Cohen 1990). Maryam. When you go to her school? Do you speak in English? [laughter] Let tell me the true.2. Wenden and Rubin 1987. social networking. As researchers reviewed what participants said about the speaking and listening they did in English. Chamot and Kupper 1989. [laughter] Oh! Okay.5. friendship. an Iranian female with children.or second-language learning strategies are specific actions. who had a baby during the project period. Q4 Maryam: Because you know – because I always stay at home – and don’t ahh have a relationship with other language – people you know and I don’t have – I didn’t have any practice … Mmm. Research has consistently shown that the conscious use of such strategies is related to good achievement and proficiency. it also appeared to be the only place where they spoke English and sometimes the only place in which they spoke with English native speakers (ie their teachers and advisors). [laughter] Just – yeah you know? Yeah I contacted them! But you know ahm ahm teacher Iranian teacher? Is in my daughter’s school? When I want to ta– [laughter] contact. 1990b. not only in the provision of language instruction. participants at all levels reported that the AMEP was an important source of social support. but also as an important source of social contact through English. her school. self-directed involvement needed to develop second-language communication skills (O’Malley and Chamot 1990). independent and non-teacher-directed use of languagelearning strategies to improve their listening and speaking both inside and outside class. it was noticed that they seemed to make very little mention of using any deliberate strategies in order to improve these skills. In view of the limited opportunities for speaking practice they reported. it was a ‘safe’ way to try out their English and the only place where they didn’t feel lost. the AMEP played a vital role in many participants’ lives. Maryam. [laughter] [laughter] I never go to [laughter] my daughter’s ahm school. For many. 5. Contact ahm my daughter’s school? Just speak to her.4 Importance of AMEP Given the relative social isolation of most participants and their fear of speaking English. Speaking Skills and the Role of the AMEP 73 . For quite a few. CSWE II. we decided to investigate more closely their use of specific strategies to improve their access to speaking and listening practice inside and outside the classroom. behaviours. C01. [laughter] Oh! It means you don’t need English at all! [laughter] R: Maryam: R: Maryam: Maryam. reported very little English-language use outside the classroom in Q1.

they either made very little use of these strategies or were not aware of or able to articulate the strategies they did use. type and frequency of learning strategy mentioned by participants indicated that they made use of four broad language-learning strategy types. extend their social contacts and improve their communicative competence. While this result may in part reflect the way in which the data were collected (that is. and what helped and what did not: they were not specifically asked about these four types of strategies.2: Listening and speaking: talk about language-learning strategy use Number of Participants 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Inside AMEP Outside AMEP e tiv itiv e ec aff itiv gn ry co mo cia gn Me ta Me Co Strategy Type In their interviews. participants were regularly asked about their language learning. many made no mention at all during the study of any of these language-learning strategies. such as by asking for clarification or actively seeking out opportunities to use English (Oxford 1990c). The first of these. through informal semi-structured interview rather than through the targeted questionnaire and specialised inventory instruments more usually found in strategy research). Figure 5. Thirty-four per cent (52 individuals) did not mention any form of language-learning strategy inside the AMEP and 60% (91 individuals) did not mention the use of any language-learning strategy to assist their listening and speaking skills outside the AMEP. Cognitive strategies are primarily concerned with ways of engaging with learning materials. The fact that they made so little mention of strategy use therefore suggests that either many participants were not fully aware of the strategies they were using or that they did not use them. for example by analysing a text (Oxford 1990a. primarily relates to interacting with others as a way of facilitating learning. socioaffective strategies. and memory strategies are those that assist in memorising and retrieving information (Oxford 1990a). Analysis of the range. while metacognitive strategies are those directed towards regulating or self-directing language learning (O’Malley et al 1985). 1990b). Figure 5. 74 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? No So str at eg e y .2 shows the percentages of the participants who reported making use of these strategies inside and outside the AMEP. That is. participants were asked about their language learning.seemed to make very little use of these strategies and seemed largely unaware how the strategies could help them become more independent language learners. and such strategy use as was reported related mostly to speaking and listening inside the AMEP rather than outside. As can be seen from the graph.

while 30% (45 participants) said they used a socioaffective strategy outside the AMEP. at work. There appeared to be no particular effect on strategy use for L1. C08) Speaks to neighbours from non-English-speaking backgrounds (Lorraine. Overall. Heather. Q1 R: Heather: Int: Int: What do you do at home for example to learn English or to study by yourself? Mmm … [long L1 exchange] At home yeah she doesn’t do anything no homework – and she doesn’t speak to anybody in English. cultural background.1 gives examples of the strategies that participants at different CSWE levels reported using. C06) Makes up sentences to try out with her husband (Lila. Although participants with higher education levels did report a slightly higher use of three or more strategy types. Q4 R: Int: Int: Okay. And right. Q4 R: Dan: Is there anything new? Anything new? Yeah I started to work a lot on myself. C02) Watches TV every night with her husband. some participants changed their attitudes to and awareness of strategy use as they gained in confidence. However. age. they speak quite – yeah sometimes they do most of the time.and strategybased language training is currently an integral part of the CSWE syllabus. Vinny. Speaking Skills and the Role of the AMEP 75 . That is. Table 5. C05. C03) Watches TV and listens to radio to practise listening (Kristina. with my brother. CSWE III. Okay. these results suggest that participants’ strategy use may be largely unconscious and perhaps more motivated by a strong desire for social interaction than by a desire for formal language learning. it – have you ever tried to tell them to repeat? [L1 exchange] No. too) (Faith. you know … Mm … All the time I’m trying to find a place that I can speak English in. he asks her about the news afterwards and they have discussions about it (Anne. C03. C09) Over the period of the study. Table 5.The strategy types used most often both inside and outside the AMEP appeared to be those with strong social orientation. like – like I told you I’m in TAFE. although there was Chapter 5 Language Learning. This suggests that there may be scope for a more specific focus in the AMEP on strategies that may be useful for the development of speaking and listening skills. gender or marital status. with any – just like – I always try to find a situation like that so I can go out and speak in English. C01) Joined the ‘Huggies Club’ for parents to talk about baby care (got good advice for breastfeeding. For example. C01. CSWE I. Heather. CSWE I. Less use was made of other strategy types. both inside and outside the classroom. Thus 49% (74 participants) said they made use of at least one socioaffective strategy inside the AMEP. the converse did not appear to be the case. it was not necessarily those with lower levels of education in the sample who had low or no use of strategies. Skills. R: Dan: Others do not appear to have developed their awareness of strategy use at all. Dan. C03. who corrects her (Li Huang.1: Examples of strategies used by learners at different CSWE levels CSWE level CSWE I CSWE II CSWE III Reported strategies Reads aloud to her daughter. by Q4 Dan had gained in confidence and was deliberately going out of his way to find people to talk to in English.

Given the limited opportunities for spoken interaction that many migrants appear to have. Prior education and English-language learning were not always an advantage. including an important role for explicit attention to: • • the nature of language learning and how this can be approached successfully. • • Many learners had little opportunity to develop speaking skills in the community. but also suggest some implications for the program.some evidence of attention to strategy in the classroom data and materials collected in the project.4 Summary and implications This chapter has explored some of the issues faced by participants as they learned to speak in English. and in some cases provided the only source of. Most learners were very keen to develop their speaking skills but were not always fully aware of the nature of this undertaking. particularly if it encouraged them to rely heavily on the written language. 76 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . and strategies that learners can use both inside and outside the classroom in order to develop speaking skills. increased attention to strategy would appear to be one area in which explicit instruction might help to develop learners’ awareness of what they might be able to do to increase their exposure to English and gain more from the interactions they do encounter. not much attention appears to have been given to strategy training or awareness raising. particularly if they were in larger cities and supported by a strong L1 network. 5. Analysis of the data has resulted in the following findings. speaking practice in English. AMEP classes played an important role in providing not only instruction but also a venue and social network that was important to. Many participants seemed to lack a clear sense of the nature of language learning and made relatively little deliberate use of strategies to enhance their speaking skills. • • These findings not only highlight the importance of the AMEP for the development of skills in both speaking and literacy.

Chapter 6 Conclusion and recommendations Chapter 6 Conclusion and Recommendations 77 .

78 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

while the needs of individuals obviously varied. which seemed to not only address their needs in general. Language and cultural information related to vocations and the workplace seems to be of increasing interest to learners at higher levels of CSWE. including colloquial Australian English. Recommendation 2 The AMEP should retain a focus on English for everyday life. the range of employment they found suggests that it would be difficult to cater for the diversity of specific language in the workplace. In this section we address this general issue and consider what has been learned from the project about the needs of this group.Chapter 6 Conclusion and recommendations The aim of this project was to follow newly arrived migrants over a 12-month period of their settlement in Australia in order to find out how they use English and how closely their engagement with English in the AMEP matched these communicative needs. the kinds of community interactions that participants engaged in were broadly similar in a number of respects across all migrant groups. but also to learn about life in Australia and develop many of the skills that they needed for settlement. Recommendation 3 The AMEP should include an increased focus on understanding the Australian workplace at CSWE III. This suggests that there was generally a good level of fit between the participants’ needs and the topics provided in the AMEP. Rather. Rather. Recommendation 4 The approach to workplace issues and language in the AMEP should be generic in nature and should include a focus on the strategies clients can use outside the classroom to gain the specific language they will need for particular occupations or industries. but also to offer social support and information at a crucial period in their settlement. the intention is to highlight the importance of these services to our participants as revealed in this study and to suggest modifications where appropriate. This suggests that a focus on understanding the Australian workplace and pathways to appropriate employment might be particularly suitable at CSWE III. Chapter 6 Conclusion and Recommendations 79 . Examination of the data has shown that these closely match the topics offered in the AMEP. These recommendations should not be taken to imply that such services are not currently being provided. together with strategies for finding out the specific language requirements of particular occupations or industries. Recommendations for the provision of AMEPrelated services will be made on the basis of these conclusions. while daily life topics seem to be particularly relevant at early CSWE levels. and that participants were very satisfied with their experiences on the program. Participants particularly appreciated the opportunity the AMEP offered to become acquainted with colloquial Australian English for everyday life and to find out more about aspects of life and culture in Australia. particularly as they related to the issues and routines they encountered in early settlement. As discussed below. As has been argued above. While workplace language and culture was of particular interest to higher-level participants. The experience of some participants also illustrates the importance of scheduling classes flexibly to accommodate the needs of learners with different commitments and life circumstances. a more achievable aim would be to target general workplace issues and language. Recommendation 1 The AMEP should remain committed to assisting newly arrived migrants to acquire the language they need to attend to the issues and routines they encounter in early settlement. They reported that the program assisted them not only to make progress in English. the participants were generally very content with the AMEP.

and so were in particular need of advice on requirements. It was clear from our data that many families were struggling with these issues and explicit coverage of how they can be tackled would be helpful for migrants in mixed-language households. opportunities and pathways in Australia. not only in developing social language but also in developing social networks. Recommendation 9 The AMEP should explicitly tackle issues of how to support both English-language development and first-language maintenance in the home. it is important for families to be supported to work through language-use issues to minimise the disconnection between family members that might otherwise ensue. The project has also been able to explore the goals and post-AMEP pathways of participants and highlight the implications of these for the program. With often limited opportunities for engaging in social talk in English with native speakers. retraining for new goals or refreshing their previous training. Many participants were engaged in this period in refocusing their goals. Analysis of the opportunities for social interaction in English reported by the participants over the one-year data collection period has also highlighted the important role of the AMEP. Since the children in the family are likely to develop good Englishlanguage skills and social networks rapidly at school. Recommendation 8 DIAC should consider the development and promotion of community outreach programs to increase awareness in the broader community of migrant issues and strategies for interacting with speakers from different language backgrounds. These include information for migrants. While it is unrealistic to expect that migrants will necessarily be able to make instant friends among the settled English-speaking community. Recommendation 7 The important role of the AMEP in assisting newly arrived migrants to develop social networks should be explicitly acknowledged and promoted through timetabled social activities.Recommendation 5 AMEP classes should be scheduled as flexibly as possible to cater for the diverse client base. By the same token. There also appeared to be a strong interest in further study. outreach programs to help English native speakers better understand the communicative needs of new arrivals and involve them in joint social activities would be useful. in particular programs that bring expert speakers of English and newly arrived migrants together. and are also likely to encounter the kinds of cultural values espoused by young Australians. our data suggest that there is considerable interest in childcare. aged care and beauty therapy among women. This analysis has shown that well-educated participants at CSWE III and particularly those interested in well-defined professions were able to articulate their goals and pathways towards them quite clearly. The insight into language use in the family given by this project has also highlighted some issues that may impact on settlement success in the longer term and that could be usefully addressed as part of an early settlement program. but also in extracurricular activities that can help to foster social networks. Recommendation 6 The AMEP should include explicit attention to language learning and social networking strategies. This suggests an important role early in their settlement for careful and sensitive counselling with advisers who are able to communicate effectively with learners with a range of needs and levels of English. which was not always 80 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . As far as particular employment pathways are concerned. partners and other family members on how to support both English-language development and first-language maintenance in the home. not only in the content of classes. and in interpreting and setting up in a small business for both genders. while those at lower levels of CSWE and those who had less education or a less well-defined occupation in mind were not always able to do so. clients would benefit from explicit attention to this area of language development. they would nevertheless benefit from more explicit instruction on the strategies they could use to increase their contact with English speakers.

Although securing employment was an important goal for most participants and approximately half of them were successful in finding a job. Chapter 6 Conclusion and Recommendations 81 . Given the reports of some participants that their English was deteriorating after the end of their AMEP hours as their English-speaking networks dwindled. Recommendation 10 Counselling services capable of providing sensitive advice and ongoing support on how to develop goals and pursue pathways to further study and employment should be available for all clients in a timely manner and on a regular basis.pursued within the data collection period. and on how they can be supported to undertake further training. ongoing and reflective assistance with what it means to learn and use a language and what learners can do to find out more about the linguistic contexts they need to know about. if unsurprising. underlines the importance of sensitive advice that can help clients to explore a range of options. This suggests that it may be particularly important to attend to pathways and transition to further study for clients at lower levels. and all but one of these were at CSWE III level. Continued research into how they build on these foundations as they build their lives in Australia would provide further valuable insight into the longer term-impact of the AMEP on their settlement experiences. The uncertainty about employment goals seen particularly in lowerlevel learners. It is unrealistic to expect that classes will provide all the input and practice that learning to operate in another language requires. Learning an additional language as an adult is a significant undertaking. This is a particular need for younger new arrivals. the insights into the participants’ lives provided by this project have illustrated the ways and contexts in which they use English over a one-year period in their early settlement. The CSWE I participants in the study were less likely to be either working or studying. Recommendation 11 The AMEP should include increased explicit attention to the nature of language learning and the strategies that migrants can use to enhance their language learning inside and outside the classroom. While this is entirely understandable. Recommendation 13 The settlement experiences of the participants in this study should be followed for a further period. trend that only a few participants were able to work in their pre-migration occupations. and a process that will continue for an extended period. Migrants with families who feel the pressure to curtail their studies in favour of paid employment would benefit from advice on how they can be supported to study and manage their financial responsibilities effectively. It was also evident that some participants lacked a clear understanding of the level of English required for different pathways. and strategies that they could use to maximise their engagement with and learning of English. particularly in the light of some of the gaps and anomalies in the post-AMEP pathways relating to provision of English-language programs for higher-level study and eligibility for courses. This suggests an important role for explicit. clients may need advice on how to access occupations and pathways that are less stereotypical occupations for migrants. it does suggest that migrants might benefit from more explicit attention to the nature of language learning and the language-learning strategies that they can use inside and outside the classroom. the role of the learner. Since learners at this level have the least English and therefore are likely to have the most difficulty engaging with community members in English. Overall. These include engagement with authentic contexts of spoken and written language use. it is especially important that they have access to some kind of further engagement with English. it was a noticeable. In particular. Recommendation 12 Particular attention should be given to the provision of guidance on the pathways to further study available to clients at lower CSWE levels. and the important role played by the AMEP in the development of their language and social networks during this time. and the fact that some of these early preferences were not pursued. Associated with this was often an incomplete understanding of the nature of adult language learning. it is important that they maintain contact with English-speaking services in some form if they are not to become marginalised.

82 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

Appendix 1 Centre descriptions Appendix 1: Centre Descriptions 83 .

84 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

England with 6238 people and Fiji with 5387 people (Blacktown City Council nd). followed by Chinese. Dominant countries of origin are the Philippines with 16 129 people. seven Vietnamese and one Singhalese. Centre 05 Centre 05 is located in the Institute of Languages at the University of New South Wales. Dinka and Arabic. with more than 184 countries and 156 languages represented within its total population of 271 710 recorded for 2006. The centre is adjacent to the Blacktown TAFE. Vietnamese and Chinese backgrounds. Syria and Sudan. Parramatta is a culturally diverse middle-class suburb in the Sydney metropolitan area. New South Wales. or 650 per term. The majority of clients are of Chinese descent.651 people. The 16 participants in the study comprised eight Arabic speakers (three from Egyptian and five from Lebanese backgrounds). Farsi and Dari speakers from Iran and Afghanistan.255 people. The most dominant language groups are Bengali. and is a walking distance from the Blacktown Railway Station and the Blacktown Hospital. The centre has 290 clients. Gujerati. The selected class is CSWE III. Along the line are some of the most ethnically diverse settlements – from Lakemba to Cabramatta.Appendix 1: Centre descriptions Centre 01 Centre 01 is located on the first two floors of a four-level building. According to the Census 2006.300 clients over a one-year period. Hindi and Tamil. Vietnam and China. The selected class is CSWE II. The centre enrols about 1. and Arabic speakers from Iraq. New Zealand with 6. Bankstown is at the centre of the south-western railway line connecting the city’s inner west to the south-west of the Sydney metropolitan area. The class selected for the study has 23 students at CSWE I level. New South Wales. which it shares with other businesses in the central business district of Parramatta. Centre 04 Centre 04 was dropped from the study before the start of data collection for logistical reasons. It is within five minutes walking distance from a shopping centre. There are also people of Indian ethnicity. The centre serves around 250 clients from a number of ethnically and linguistically diverse backgrounds. is culturally and linguistically diverse. India with 7. and it is located on a street that is one of the main arteries for people to access the shopping centre and other business establishments within the area. Appendix 1: Centre Descriptions 85 . which reflect the overall population in the area. New South Wales. It shares premises and facilities with two other departments (English for Academic Purposes and General English) on the Kensington campus. almost 38% of its population speaks a language other than English at home. and they are mostly under 30 years of age. Centre 03 Centre 03 is located in the central business district of Bankstown. Centre 02 Centre 02 is located in a five-storey building that also houses the Blacktown Migrant Resource Centre and a number of other not-for-profit organisations. Lebanon. Blacktown. All these suburbs are densely populated by some major communities of Arabic. The clients are mainly from Arabic-speaking countries. A relatively large proportion of the overseas-bornpopulation is from North-East Southern and central Asia. It also has a young population with just over 40% of the population under 15 yrs old (ABS 2008a).

which is part of a consortium of AMEP providers across the northern region of Melbourne. with 56. Participants’ home languages were Arabic. and they travel from different parts of Melbourne. linking it with the city and surrounding suburbs. Indonesia. In 2006. At the end of the entrance foyer is a general reception area for the building. The selected class is CSWE III. Spanish speakers from Brazil and Peru. Spanish. in the middle northern suburbs of Melbourne. Mandarin.4% of residents born in Australia. Portuguese.6% of the total population of 992 176 people were born overseas. It is housed in buildings that were formerly a secondary school. Eight of the participants had tertiary degrees. linguistic and religious backgrounds and noticeable numbers are from China. New Zealand and China. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are in the minority. bus and tram routes passing through. There is also a campus located in Salisbury. It is close to an underground train station. The selected class is CSWE I. including a culturally diverse market and retail facilities. three had partial tertiary qualification and one had up to secondary education. The centre serves more than 1800 clients from a number of ethnically and linguistically diverse backgrounds that reflect the overall population in the area. Most clients are people of Asian descent. Centre 09 Centre 09 is located in Melbourne’s city centre in the legal and business (rather than commercial) district. Numerous buses service Kensington. Classrooms occupy five levels of the building and are accessed by two central lifts. Thai and Vietnamese. However. people from Serbia and also people with Bosnian ancestry. Farsi. The suburb has a long history of migrant settlement and has a population of migrants and working-class Australian-born residents. There are significant migrant communities in surrounding suburbs that use facilities close to the centre. The most common countries of origin for the remaining residents include the United Kingdom. municipal and legal offices and a migrant resource centre. The suburb is located in a public transport hub with train. Arabic speakers from Iraq. Only 15% of the total population speak a community language other than English (ABS 2008b). Centre 06 Centre 06 is an AMEP centre located in the Southbank Institute of Technology. It is three minutes walk from the train station. Twelve participants at CSWE III level from Centre 05 took part in the study. Kensington has a wide range of ethnicities. The city of Brisbane has a high Australian-born population. Indonesian. 86 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? . although most live in the inner suburban areas. and it has good public transport links with the city centre and other suburbs. with only 39 in Kensington. there are no trains or light-rail services to the area. Centre 07 Centre 07 is an AMEP centre located within a city centre campus of TAFE South Australia in Adelaide situated on the fourth and fifth floors of a high-rise building in the most central shopping mall in the city’s central business district. 25. as well as city tram and bus stops. There are also people of African ancestry from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi. There is a cafe co-located at the ground floor entrance to the building and a newsagency on the other side. The selected class is pre-CSWE/CSWE I and is made up of 16 participants. in the local government area of the City of Randwick.Kensington is a suburb located six kilometres south-east of the Sydney central business district. The centre is located in the heart of Brisbane’s cultural precinct in the city centre. Centre 08 Centre 08 is part of the Foundation Studies Department of the Institute of TAFE. Clients come from a variety of ethnic.

The Carlisle campus is small and friendly and students from all classes mingle in the break. The AMEP teachers are experienced and well qualified and hold culturally diverse classes. about 250 of whom are young adults in the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students. Perth has free inner-city buses and one stops in front of the building. During Q1 the centre was located in the central business district of Perth. The Thornlie campus is larger and has most of the administration staff. which were offered in the mornings. which are about a 20–30 minute train/bus ride away from the city. The centre is easily reachable either on foot from the central station or by means of buses. offices and management. There is a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in the centre.Since the centre is centrally located in the central business district and close to public transport. The centre has about 1400 clients enrolled in AMEP courses. a ten-minute walk from the central station and main shopping area. as well as experience in teaching English overseas. The centre offered courses in pre-CSWE to CSWE III levels. and there are a range of activities in the centre (such as multicultural week and dance classes) that attempt to encourage and harness inter-cultural harmony. where it had been for six years. home tutor schemes. ‘Language of Childbirth’ or ‘Information Technology’. central police station and law courts. Centre 11 Centre 11 is located in Central TAFE in a modern building that is centrally located in Perth. so even if buses do not connect directly to the TAFE. the museum and the State Library. students come from different parts of Melbourne. with 13 participants. From Q2 onwards the centre was split between two campuses in Carlisle and Thornlie. classes such as ‘Senior First Aid’. Students are culturally and ethnically diverse. Centre 12 Centre 12 is located in a TAFE that moved out of the Perth city centre into a more suburban area after Q1. The centre also offers a range of ‘Migrant Pathways to Employment’ courses that are specialised English courses preparing students for the language uses in particular industries. The centre offers courses at all levels and intensities. Other courses included distance learning. Centre 10 Centre 10 is located in a large TAFE campus on the fringe of the central business district of Hobart. Some have experience teaching in the AMEP in other parts of Australia. the distance learning centre and all the other special services they provide. ‘English for Driving – Learner’s Permit’. The centre conducts courses on Level 3. Students attending classes at AMEP Central TAFE live all over town. and Saturday morning classes. There are approximately 600 students enrolled in the programs at the centre. It is located in two buildings on opposite sides of a major intersection. The selected class for this centre is CSWE level III. although most live in the inner suburban areas. The city’s public transport focuses on the city centre. it is only a short walk from the central bus terminal and bus stops in the city centre. part-time. afternoons and evenings. where students and staff could get reasonably priced meals and drinks. behind the Art Gallery of Western Australia. and the remaining two in two different classes at the same centre. It occupied three floors in a ten-storey office building with a small shop and cafeteria on the ground floor. especially the north and east wings. and there is a feeling that both teachers and students know each other well and get on well together. The central retail area is a short walk from the centre. The AMEP shares a building with the auto-electrical and automotive classrooms. The reception of the AMEP centre is situated in the North Wing on Level 3. Appendix 1: Centre Descriptions 87 . It is close to other public services and offices. full-time. The majority of the participants who signed up for this project (seven out of ten) decided to attend classes in Carlisle: five continued on in the same class with the teacher–researcher. such as Hobart’s main hospital. The new campus is located opposite Oats Street Station. It is five-minute walk from the central train station. from pre-CSWE to CSWE III. Participants from this centre lived all over town. but they do not have exclusive access to the area. night classes.

88 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

Appendix 2 Participants’ reported first languages Chapter 6 Conclusion and Recommendations 89 .

90 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

Appendix 2: Participants’ reported first languages Reported L1 Mandarin Arabic Vietnamese Korean Thai Spanish Farsi Filipino/Tagalog Japanese Cantonese Portuguese Bahasa Indonesia Chin Dinka French Gujarati Kirundi Punjabi Shanghainese Sinhala Unknown Amharic Balinese Bari Bosnian Bulgarian Burmese Czech Dari Digo Ecuadorian Spanish Hakka Chin Hindi Kannada Karen Khmer Krio Liberian English Number of participants 29 18 12 8 7 6 5 5 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Cont .. Appendix 2: Participants’ reported first languages.. 91 .

..Cont . Reported L1 Lithuanian Persian Polish Romanian Russian Serbian Somali Susu Swahili Tamil Tigrinya Urdu Uygur Zandi Zhuang dialect Total Number of participants 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 152 92 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

Appendix 3 Coding categories used in basic NVivo analysis Appendix 3: Coding Categories Used in Basic NVivo Analysis 93 .

94 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

as well as concrete plans Expectations and assumptions on any aspect of their language learning or settlement that were either confirmed or proven untrue Appendix 3: Coding Categories Used in Basic NVivo Analysis 95 . + positive/negative Participation in their community Broader Australian community Local (neighbourhood) community Ethnic community and their ethnic association Access to services available Comments on and opinion about living in Australia + attitude. + positive/negative 5. Project team members first coded the data under the major themes in this list. data from different participants coded under these themes could be accessed. Direct comment on fit between learning in the AMEP and settlement • • How their English-language learning is directly related to their settlement How any other learning in the AMEP is related to their settlement in Australia 3. Expectations/needs/goals/aspirations • • • • Expectations/needs/goals/aspirations for themselves and their family in relation to their life in Australia Expectations/needs/goals/aspirations in relation to their work and future study Hopes for the future. This was further modified once coding had started and we had further insight into the project data. A list of the major themes coded is given below: 1. allowing us to track both larger trends and individual experiences. together with textual and photographic data.Appendix 3: Coding categories used in basic NVivo analysis NVivo is a computer program that can be used to code and manage qualitative data. At later stages of analysis. including intentional (curriculum-driven) or incidental learning 2. particularly in relation to more opportunities of learning across the macro skills (reading/ writing/listening/speaking) Assessment or opinion of the AMEP + attitude. At project team meetings a preliminary set of themes useful in addressing our research questions was drawn up. + positive/negative Any non-language learning that takes place while they are in the AMEP. were loaded into the program to provide project team members with a systematic way of accessing and analysing them. AMEP • • • • • Classes in the AMEP What their AMEP classes should include/have included. Language learning • • • Formal and informal language learning during and after the AMEP Formal and informal language learning before migration + pre-migration Strategies in language learning 4. Settlement/communities • • • • • • • Attitudes toward/participation in/opinion of their community + attitude. compared and further analysed. Spoken data were transcribed and these. + positive/negative Indirect opinions of the AMEP + attitude.

Family • • • • Use of English with family members + use of English Use of other languages with family members + other languages Support from family members Comparisons between self and family members in relation to language learning or settlement 7. Employment • • • • • Anything work-related Work experience prior to migration + pre-migration Work aspirations now that they are in Australia Processes of finding work E xperiences in finding work so far and their thoughts on how easy or difficult it is for them to find work 9. Significant events • Critical incidents or experiences that the participant highlights which they consider as significantly impacting their settlement or language-learning experience. whether it be inside or outside the classroom Specific events and/or experiences which to the participant are a cause for satisfaction or measure of degree of achievement • 10. Use of other languages • • • • • Use of L1 or other languages prior to migration + pre-migration Use of L1 or other languages in Australia Where and when they use L1 or other languages Specific activities or events where they use L1 or other languages Use of their L1 or other languages in relation to settlement + settlement/communities 12. Use of English • • • • • • Use of English prior to migration + pre-migration Language network – when and where they use English on a regular basis Where and when they use English now that they are in Australia Views on the kind of English they or their family should be using + attitudes Issues of pronunciation and perceptions of intelligibility Use of English in relation to settlement + settlement/communities 11. Education (non-AMEP) • • Formal and informal learning outside the AMEP during or after 510 hours (eg TAFE.6. Friends • • • • Use of English with friends + use of English Use of other languages with friends + other languages Support from friends Comparisons between self and peers in relation to language learning or settlement 8. LLNP) Formal and informal learning prior to migration including school and post-secondary + premigration 96 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

Appendix 3: Coding Categories Used in Basic NVivo Analysis 97 . Positive • • Anything the participant considers positively Use in combination with other nodes 19. Negative • • Anything the participant considers negatively Use in combination with other nodes 20. + attitudes 17. either their own pronunciation or understanding Australian pronunciation. Migration and citizenship • • • • Reasons and motivations for migration Attitudes towards migration and citizenship + attitudes. Attitudes • • Any data depicting attitudes Use in combination with other nodes 21. Pre-migration • Anything related to their lives prior to coming to Australia 16. + language use. + use of English. + language learning. Identity • • • • Perceptions of themselves Perceptions of their family + family Multilingual identities (how they use their ethnicity and/or their language to negotiate everyday affairs) Gendered experiences of language learning and settlement 15. + positive/negative Migration process (how they came to Australia) Long-term plans to stay in Australia or alternative plans 14. language learning or language use + settlement/communities. Emotion • Participants’ reflection on their feelings or emotional state in relation to settlement. Change or development • Participants’ reflection on their own change or development + language learning. Pronunciation • Participants’ comments about pronunciation or pronunciation issues. and perceptions of their own or others’ intelligibility. + use of other languages Instances of strong emotion during interview (eg crying) • 18.13. + settlement or communities. Any examples of the interviewer having trouble understanding what the participant says.

98 Language training and settlement success: Are they related? .

References References 99 .

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